The Effect of Curriculum, Coaching, and Professional Development on Prekindergarten Children's Literacy Achievement

Jan. 28, 2009

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 30, Issue 1, January 2009 , pages 49 - 68

Disadvantaged children are considered as those in poverty, minorities, or whose first language is not English. These children often come to kindergarten several years behind their more advantaged peers, especially in the areas of literacy and oral language development. A logical place to begin making a difference in children's literate lives is in the years before kindergarten. This study empirically assessed one community's efforts to close this gap for its youngest children. Over a 3-year period, a grassroots venture consisting of business, university and public school personnel provided teachers in 22 California state preschool classrooms with a literacy-rich curriculum. They also provided the teachers with weekly support from a literacy coach and professional development on early literacy acquisition and instruction. Baseline scores collected the year prior to the implementation of this project were compared to end-of-year scores for two experimental condition cohort groups (Year 1 and Year 2 of the project). The data reveal that children exposed to the literacy curriculum and coaching model significantly outperformed the children in the baseline condition for most of the literacy outcome subtest measures. Teacher ratings on child development literacy measures also showed a majority of the experimental condition students had improved significantly by the end of the year. Furthermore, significant differences were also found when 103 children from Year 1 of the project were followed through kindergarten and compared to 665 control children on end-of-year literacy assessments. Implications for early childhood teacher preparation based on these results are discussed.

Updated: Apr. 06, 2009