Purpose: Reading development depends on language development and pre-literacy experiences prior to formal schooling. Children who have not had many language or early literacy experiences prior to kindergarten face significant challenges learning to read. These children often continue to experience poor reading skills throughout school. With continued failure, many of them may become eligible for special education which may involve services that are "too little too late" and are often very costly for children, their families, and education systems. Given the importance of reading, systems of prevention and intervention in early education settings are needed. The growing use of Response to Intervention (RtI) models in elementary schools has attracted attention among early childhood educators and researchers. RtI is a systematic problem-solving process designed to recognize students' difficulties early, provide students with a level of instructional intensity matched to their level of need, and then provide a data-based method for measuring their progress. While the use of RtI in preschool settings holds great promise, a numbers of questions exist about how these models will be translated from elementary school settings.
The Center's primary objectives are (1) to conduct focused research to develop and rigorously evaluate and replicate intensive interventions for preschool language and early literacy skills and (2) to develop and validate an assessment system linked to these interventions. In addition, the research team will provide national leadership on development and implementation of RtI models for young children and conduct supplementary studies related to RtI and assessment issues. The Center's long-term goal is to prevent disabilities in reading by increasing the number of young children who enter school with knowledge and skill in early literacy and language.
Focused program of research: Two interventions will be developed and evaluated. These interventions will be used as supplementary (i.e., Tier II) and tertiary (i.e., Tier III) interventions in an RtI model. The interventions will consist of intensified instruction in oral language, vocabulary, phonological and phonemic awareness, print awareness, alphabetic knowledge, and comprehension. Researchers will evaluate the efficacy of these interventions during the final two project years. In addition, a series of language and early literacy measures to be used for screening and progress monitoring will be developed. These will include measures of phonological awareness, comprehension, and language skills. A focused series of validation studies will be conducted to produce a preschool assessment system for identifying students who need intensive intervention and for measuring their progress. The research sites include Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, and Minnesota.
Supplemental Center Activities: The Center will investigate the relationships among the quality of the core preschool curriculum and children's growth on early literacy and language skills, level of active engagement in the curriculum, and assignment to more intensive interventions. The Center researchers are also coordinating a network of RtI users and researchers, and they are planning an annual RtI in Early Childhood Institute on early literacy and language strategies and interventions, curricula, progress monitoring, and data based decision-making.
Products: The products of this project include intensive interventions for improving preschoolers' language and literacy skills and an assessment system for identifying and measuring the progress of children who need intensive intervention. Additional products include published reports, institutes, and presentations related to preschool RtI models.
Co-Principal Investigator: Judith Carta
Key Personnel: Charles Greenwood, Judith Carta, Maura Linas, Howard Goldstein, Robin Ziolkowski, Scott McConnell, Tracy Bradfield, Ruth Kaminski, Annie Hommel.
Center Website: http://www.crtiec.org/
IES Program Contact: Kristen Lauer
Telephone: (202) 219-0377
Publications from this project:
Goldstein, H. (2011). Knowing what to teach provides a roadmap for early literacy intervention. Journal of Early Intervention, 33 (4), 268–280.
Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., & McConnell, S. (2011). Advances in measurement for universal screening and individual progress monitoring of young children. Journal of Early Intervention, 33 (4), 254–267.
Greenwood, C. R., & McConnell, S. R. (2011). JEI guidelines for manuscripts describing the development and testing of an assessment instrument or measure. Journal of Early Intervention, 33 (3), 171–185.
Spencer, E. J., Goldstein, H., & Kaminski, R. (2012). Teaching vocabulary in storybooks: Embedding explicit vocabulary instruction for young children. Young Exceptional Children, 15(1), 18–32.
Carta, J., & Driscoll, C. (in press). Early literacy interventions for young children with special needs. In T. Shanahan & C. Lonigan (Eds.), Literacy in preschool and kindergarten children: The National Early Literacy Panel and beyond. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Carta, J. J., & Greenwood, C. R. (in press). Promising future research directions in Response to Intervention (RTI) in early childhood. In V. Buysse & E. Peisner-Feinberg (Eds.), Handbook of Response to Intervention in early childhood. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., Atwater, J., Goldstein, H., Kaminski, R., & McConnell, S. R. (in press). Is a response to intervention (RTI) approach to preschool language and early literacy instruction needed? Topics in Early Childhood Special Education.
McConnell, S. R., & Greenwood, C. R. (in press). General outcome measures in early childhood and Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs). In V. Buysse & E. Peisner-Feinberg (Eds.), Handbook of Response to Intervention in early childhood. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Roseth, C. J., Missall, K. N., & McConnell, S. R. (in press). Early Literacy Individual Growth and Development Indicators (EL-IGDIs): Growth trajectories using a large, internet-based sample. Journal of School Psychology.
Spencer, E. J., Goldstein, H., Sherman, A., Noe, S., Tabbah, R., Ziolkowski, R., & Schneider, N. (in press). Effects of an automated vocabulary and comprehension intervention: An early efficacy study. Journal of Early Intervention.
Spencer, E., Spencer, T., Goldstein, H., & Schneider, N. (in press). Identifying early literacy learning needs: Implications for child outcome standards and assessment systems. In T. Shanahan & C. Lonigan (Eds.), Literacy in preschool and kindergarten children: The National Early Literacy Panel and beyond. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.