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Research and Evaluation
Kola Sunmonu, PhD.
Director
Office | 301-780-6807

 

Last modified: 4/29/2016 8:02:25 AM
Research and Evaluation
Publications
Early Reading First Program - Findings from FY2006 Teacher and Paraprofessional Survey 

 

Abstract

The Early Reading First (ERF) program is designed to help pre-kindergarten children develop the oral language skills, phonological awareness, print awareness, and alphabet knowledge that will prepare them for later school success. The ERF program in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), referred to as Read to Lead Preschool Literacy Project (RLPLP), was initiated in March 2006. During SY2006, 175 pre-kindergarten students in nine classrooms located in five elementary schools participated in PGCPS’ ERF program. To achieve improvements in early literacy instruction, teachers and paraprofessionals in ERF classrooms were provided with online training and support in the scientifically based principles of early literacy development and to promote the application of effective teaching methods based on these principles in their classrooms. In addition, the program was designed to provide ERF teachers with support, in form of coaching and/or mentoring, to help them implement these practices in their classrooms and to help individual students with their learning issues. As part of a larger evaluation of the ERF program, the PGCPS’ Department of Research and Evaluation administered an online survey to Pre-K reading teachers and paraprofessional staff in ERF classrooms. For comparison purposes, a similar survey was administered to Pre-K teaching staff in non-ERF classrooms. The purpose of the survey was to gather information about teaching staff educational background and experience, participation in professional development activities, pedagogical beliefs relating to early childhood reading, and use of a variety of instructional practices. Although the ERF teaching staff had less early literacy teaching experience compared to their non-ERF counterparts, both groups employed very similar daily classroom activities and teaching strategies. The ERF teachers and paraprofessionals also reported receiving more support from other reading teachers in their schools, as well as having greater access to a reading coach or mentor compared to their non-ERF counterparts. However, non-ERF teachers were more likely than ERF teachers to express strong agreement with scientifically accepted beliefs about children’s early literacy development. Finally, most ERF teachers responded affirmatively when asked if they would be inclined to participate in the program again if it were offered next year.

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