One Authentic Early Literacy Practice and Three Standardized Tests: Can a Storytelling Curriculum Measure Up?

July 2007

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 28, Issue 3 July 2007, pages 251 – 275

The current study was designed to assess the vocabulary and literacy skills of young children who participated in an authentic literacy practice, i.e., Vivian Paley's "storytelling curriculum," over the course of their respective prekindergarten or kindergarten years. We asked: How do prekindergarten and kindergarten age children, who participate in the storytelling curriculum over the course of the school year, perform on pre- and postmeasures of AGS/Pearson Assessments' Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT), the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) (3rd ed.) Form IIIA, and Whitehurst's Get Ready to Read!, as compared to those young children in the same grade with similar backgrounds and in the same or similar school settings who did not participate in the storytelling curriculum?

Results show that in comparison to same-age children in like settings, participants in the storytelling curriculum showed significant gains in both vocabulary knowledge and literacy skills. These findings underscore the possibility of supporting both beginning and experienced teachers in using authentic literacy activities to prepare children for literacy learning, while maintaining their service to a wide range of other developmental issues. They also call into question the prevailing trend to abandon such classroom practices in favor of a skills-centered approach to curriculum.

Updated: Jan. 27, 2008