In the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) classroom, there are many children with language disorders (primary or secondary diagnosis), and these children are known to be at-risk for reading disability. This is a study the long-term impact of classroom print-focused read-alouds on the early literacy skills of these children.
This study is a follow-up to a previous study demonstrating an effective early literacy intervention. The 172 children with language disorders available for follow-up were given tests of print knowledge one year post-intervention. The results indicated long-term print knowledge gains. Interestingly, the greatest benefit was for children with the lowest language skills and also low nonverbal cognition. The authors predict this may be because these children were more likely to be in classrooms with weak literacy practices, and may also have fewer reading experiences at home.
So—how does the intervention work? The intervention lasts 30 weeks, during which one book per week is read four times per week to an ECSE class. The classroom teacher delivers the intervention, which is basically just a modification to a typical classroom read-aloud. There are 30 books on the reading list, all very commonly-found in preschool classrooms. The teacher follows a script for how to modify the reading to become print-focused. The research team found great fidelity results—teachers can, and will, do this.
Now, here’s the best part—their treatment manual and all the materials are freely available online!!! So you don’t have to guess how the print-focused read-alouds went down. You have a script for exactly what to say/do for each book. Here’s the lab website, where you can download everything: . Note that even though their treatment manual is available for free online, there’s also a “pretty” version here.
Justice, L.M., Logan, J., & Kaderavek, J.N. (2017). Longitudinal Impacts of Print-Focused Read-Alouds for Children With Language Impairment. American Journal of Speech–Language Pathology. Advance online publication.. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0200.