Specialized Instructional Strategies for Teaching Reading
The objective of this study is to examine two studies relating to development of literacy in preschoolers in view of the National Reading Project. Toward this end this study will examine the work of the National Early Literacy Panel (2008) and the work of Vossenkuhl (2010) both of which report studies involving literacy learning in preschool students.
Study Reported By the National Early Literacy Panel (2008)
The work of the National Early Literacy Panel entitled "A Scientific Synthesis of Early Literacy Development and Implications for Intervention" reports a study in the form of a metasynthesis that sought to answer the questions of what are the skills and abilities of young children that predict later reading, writing, or spelling outcomes?" In addition the questions were posed as follows:
Which programs, interventions, and other instructional approaches or procedures have contributed to or inhibited gains in children's skills and abilities that are linked to later outcomes in reading, writing, or spelling?
What environments and settings have contributed to or inhibited gains in children's skills and abilities that are linked to later outcomes in reading, writing, or spelling?
What child characteristics have contributed to or inhibited gains in children's skills and abilities that are linked to later outcomes in reading, writing, or spelling? (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008)
The study reported by the National Education Literacy Panel is reported to be such that adopted a methodology that enabled the "identification and selection of published studies relevant to the panel's questions, a coding system that allowed for the combination and comparison of studies, and an appropriate method of statistical analysis. Electronic searches were conducted using PsycINFO and the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), and these were supplemented with hand searches of major research journals, reference checks of past literature reviews, and nominations from leading experts in the field of early literacy. These search procedures yielded more than 8,000 potential articles that were screened to determine their relevance to the research questions and their consistency with all selection criteria established by the panel. This led to the identification of approximately 500 research articles that were used in the meta-analyses conducted by the panel. The meta-analyses summarized both correlational data showing the relationships between children's early abilities and skills and later literacy development and experimental data that showed the impact of instructional interventions on children's learning." (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008)
The panel also had the objective of identification of studies employing "experimental or quasi-experimental methods to determine the effectiveness of instructional strategies, programs, or practices in imparting conventional literacy skills or any of these precursor skills to young children. The panelists are reported to have sorted the identified studies into five groups and the groups of intervention and number of studies within each group are stated to include the following:
(1) Code-focused interventions (n = 78): Interventions designed to teach children skills related to cracking the alphabetic code. Most code-focused interventions included PA instruction.
(2) Shared-reading interventions ( n = 19): Interventions involving reading books to children. These interventions included studies of simple shared reading and those that encouraged various forms of reader-child interactions around the material being read.
(3) Parent and home programs ( n = 32): Interventions using parents as agents of intervention. These interventions may have involved teaching parents instructional techniques to use with their children at home to stimulate children's linguistic or cognitive development.
(4) Preschool and kindergarten programs ( n = 33): Studies evaluating any aspect of a preschool or kindergarten program. Ten studies in this category concerned one particular intervention (the Abecedarian Project). Other studies evaluated effects of educational programs, curricula, or policies, such as extended-year experience, on kindergartners.
(5) Language-enhancement interventions ( n = 28): Studies examining the effectiveness of an instructional effort aimed at improving young children's language development. (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008)
It is reported that the code-focused instructional efforts reported statistically significant and moderate to large effects across a broad spectrum of early literacy outcomes. The Code-focused interventions were consistent in demonstrating positive impacts on the student's conventional literacy skills and book-sharing interventions are reported to have resulted in statistically significant moderate sized effects on the print knowledge and oral language skills of children as well on their general cognitive abilities. (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008, paraphrased) There were noted to be significant and moderate to large effects on the spelling and readiness in reading of both kindergarten and preschool students. These findings indicate that there are a great deal of actions that can be taken by preschools and parents of preschoolers to improve the development of literacy in young children. Noted as well is that alternate approaches influence the child in their development of a "different pattern of essential skills." (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008)
Study Reported by Vossenkuhl (2010)
The work of Vossenkuhl (2010) entitled "Building an Effective Preschool Literacy Program" reports a study that sought to identify the most effective literacy program for use in a preschool classroom. Vossenkuhl states that the preschool at focus is one that serves 80 families each year and is inclusive of seven different classrooms. There are a reported four options for classrooms for meeting the needs of each family: (1) three-year-old; (2) four-year-old; (3) multi-age; and (4) pre-K. There are reported to be 24 girls and 50 boys and three students with disabilities and two ELL students. The school have five families that receive tuition assistance and is a school labeled are "parent-cooperation" meaning that all parents attend class once per month and work in the classroom. In addition, parents serve on a committee and participate in two major fundraisers each years. Families receiving tuition assistance are required to work extra days in the classroom or serve on additional committees making provision for the family to encourage parental support for students and much needed assistance for teachers. There are five teacher with one being a certified and licensed educator and three holding bachelor degrees with one teaching holding an associate degree. There are forty years of combined teaching experience possessed by the teachers. Vossenkuhl reports that literacy in preschool include exposure of children to oral language as well as written language and that specific activities are used to meet these objectives. Those activities include "rhyming, alliteration, syllabication, phonemic awareness, print concepts, and comprehension…" as well as others not listed. (Vossenkuhl, 2010) The children entering kindergarten come from various and sundry circumstances and very different environments. It is estimated in the work of Repper, Piasta and Murphy (2009) that "40% of children enter kindergarten 1 or more years behind their peers in critical language and reading readiness skills." (p.336) The cost to catch these students up is reported to be more than the cost associated with preventing these students from failing to begin with. The research study reported is such that seeks to identify programs and strategies that result in a preschool literacy program that is both "successful and effective." (Vossenkuhl, 2010) It is reported that four measures were utilized to assist teachers in the identification of and improvement of literacy among preschool students. Those four measures are stated as follows:
(1) Early Years Evaluation -- developed to assess the 'whole child' and items are knowledge and skills specific rather than general ability-related questions. This involves teachers inputting scores into the computer and receiving feedback on each child, which identifies the child's strengths and weaknesses as well as "whole-group development." (Vossenkuhl, 2010)
(2) Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) -- these are series of teacher given assessment that measures skills including letter-naming, initial sound identification and syllable segmentation." (Vossenkuhl, 2010) This tool enables teachers to target interventions and monitor the responsiveness of students to instruction providing feedback that is instantaneous and enables teachers to compare students scores…
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