The purpose of the proposed project, Teacher Education: Promoting Reading Readiness (TEPRR) is to give Head Start (HS) teachers access to evidence-based instructional approaches for teaching basic language and literacy skills through high quality, easily accessible, and innovative online multimedia professional development. HS focuses on serving children from low-income, at-risk families, who are less likely to have access to high quality early education, and are less likely to enter school prepared for school success. Head Start programs are experiencing a rapid increase in fixed costs and many centers have been forced to lay off staff and consolidate programs to save costs. Developing cost effective, accessible training for HS teachers is needed because programs have increasingly limited resources for training and coaching teachers, and traditional forms of professional development have had limited to mixed success in improving child language and literacy outcomes. In addition, HS teachers have expressed a strong desire for training in providing high quality literacy instruction. TEPRR is designed to fill this research-to-practice need by providing HS teachers with professional development on evidence-based approaches for teaching and monitoring development of children's language and literacy, providing opportunities to appropriately practice these new skills, and supportive, corrective feedback. In contrast to the current intermittent face-to-face in service opportunities, TEPRR promises extensive reach to HS teachers through commonly available web and mobile technology. In Phase I, we will develop a preliminary TEPRR training module that will allow us to test its DVT delivery system, acceptability, and potential for efficacy. We will develop Module 1 based on focus group and consultant feedback as well as usability testing with 40 HS teachers. We will also collect social validity data to assess the program's user-friendliness and feasibility in authentic HS settings. We will use a within-subjects pre-posttest design to assess teacher self-efficacy, adoption of instructional approaches presented in Module 1, and child knowledge of letter names and sounds taught in Module 1. In Phase II, we will develop the remaining modules of the program and conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the program on child and teacher outcomes.
Evidence-based preschool language and literacy instruction prepares children for learning to read and helps close the tremendous gap in literacy preparation among pre-K children from diverse backgrounds. In this Phase I project we will develop the preliminary teacher training module for teaching literacy skills and test its delivery via a digital-media/video/tele-training system, and its acceptability and potential for efficacy. I Phase II, we will develop the remaining modules of the program and conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the program on child and teacher outcomes.