SEDL’s Early Reading First Work Shows Results

June 17, 2009
Austin, Texas

Contact:
Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556
Email: laura.shankland@sedl.org

SEDL’s Research and Evaluation department recently completed its study of the first year of work with the Bright Futures Early Reading First Program in Madison Parish, Louisiana. Results are promising for both students and teachers.

Since Fall 2007, SEDL staff have been providing professional development in research-based early literacy instruction and language development to teachers, reading coaches, and project coordinators in Madison Parish. In addition to participating in professional development, educators are using curricula like SRA/McGraw Hill’s Imagine It! and McGraw Hill/Wright Group’s The DLM Early Childhood Express. The goal is to improve school readiness of 250 preschool children from low-income families at three preschools in Madison Parish—two public school–based programs and a Head Start program.

SEDL’s Research and Evaluation department has played a key role in ensuring the program’s success by evaluating the implementation efforts and impact of the program. SEDL evaluators have observed professional development sessions, provided by SEDL program staff and other professional development vendors, collected evaluations of those sessions and administered pre- and posttests to participants to assess changes anticipated through the training experiences. They have also completed site visits to the preschools twice a year to interview teachers, conduct classroom observations, and coordinate the data collection and management of student assessment data.

Professional development participants have consistently given high ratings to the sessions they attended and thought that the professional development was relevant and useful to their work. On average, teachers have made significant improvements in  measures of classroom quality related to literacy activities.

Students were assessed in vocabulary skills, phonological awareness, print awareness, and alphabet knowledge in pre- and posttests in Fall 2007 and Spring 2008, respectively. Students have shown statistically significant improvement in all four areas. “Early indications are promising, particularly regarding teachers making critical structural changes to their classroom environments to support and enrich literacy activities in their classrooms, says Dr. Michael Vaden-Kiernan, director for Research and Evaluation at SEDL.

In the second year of the project, SEDL will continue to provide intensive follow-up professional development to teachers and paraprofessionals and make sure new educators are brought up to speed to promote high-fidelity implementation. SEDL staff will also provide ongoing workshops on using classroom and student data to give teachers feedback on strengths and opportunities for improvement.


About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit http://www.sedl.org/about/.

Contact:

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556
E-mail: laura.shankland@sedl.org