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Evidence-based Emergent Literacy Approaches for Head Start

Description:
Emergent literacy consists of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are developmental precursors to reading and writing (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). Children reared in conditions of poverty are at increased risk of falling short on the dimensions of emergent literacy in the preschool years, and have alarmingly high rates of poor academic achievement once in elementary school. Reading and writing are the foundations for academic achievement. Thus, attention to emergent literacy, which forms the basis for learning to read and write, is appropriate for preschool programs and has been emphasized in the most recent federal reauthorization of Head Start. The primary objective of this project is to identify through careful comparative study, emergent literacy approaches that provide the most effective enhancement of emergent literacy for children in Head Start. We use the phrase evidence-based curriculum to denote an explicit and careful process of evaluating short- and long-term outcomes of curriculum interventions implemented in randomly assigned Head Start classrooms, thus providing the evidence for making decisions about one or more optimally effective curricula. More specifically, the project purpose is: (1) to compare, in Head Start classrooms of four-year-old children, leading curricula that have as part of their goals the enhancement of emergent literacy and language skills; (2) to replicate with new classrooms in the same Head Start agency, and to extend to a geographically distant and different Head Start agency, the use of the curriculum strategy or strategies comparing most favorably with the others, again in a random-assignment comparison design; and finally, (3) to follow all children in the project through early elementary school in order to obtain the broadest evidence-based support for the strengths of one or more of the curricula in terms of child outcomes in emergent literacy and early reading skills.
Resource Type:
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects
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Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

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