The objective of this competing continuation proposal is to continue research on instructional factors underlying the prevention and remediation of reading problems in socially disadvantaged children. Recent studies show that reading disability can be prevented in socially disadvantaged children with appropriate targeted instruction in the early grades. However, many factors underlying successful intervention remain to be identified, including 1) interactions among instructional methods, b) timing of direct instruction tutorials, c) role of spelling instruction, d) long-term effectiveness of the interventions through elementary school, e) the extent to which instructional modules developed in our present sites can be implemented into other urban sites, and f) whether the results of our previous studies will generalize to other urban sites. To address these issues, parallel studies of the efficacy of reading/spelling interventions for socially disadvantaged children are proposed in two urban, inner city sites in Houston and Washington, D.C. involving about 1,6000 children, 18 schools, and 114 teachers.
Four specific aims are proposed: 1) Prevention - we propose to continue interventions in kindergarten addressing the development of precursor skills that lead to good reading and spelling skills in elementary school. Growth in phonological and orthographic precursor skills will be compared in kindergarten classrooms where curriculums have been revised to target these skills and classrooms where curriculums do not explicitly target these skills. We hypothesize more accelerated growth in phonological and orthographic precursor skills in kindergarten children who receive the revised curriculums that will lead to greater academic success in Grades 1-4; 2) Early interventions - by examining interactions between direct instruction phonics methods and literature-based approaches, we propose continued evaluation of the differential effectiveness of these methods for socially disadvantage children with low achievement levels. Our previous research ha shown that direct instruction phonics methods are more effective, but the role of tutorial interventions is unclear. We propose comparisons of tutorials in Grade 1 with Grade 2, hypothesizing that effective classroom instruction in Grade 1 will minimize the number of children requiring instruction in Grade 2. In addition, we propose to follow children currently receiving intervention in kindergarten through Grade 4 to evaluate long-term efficacy and effects on comprehension and reading fluency; 3) Spelling - by comparing direct instruction methods for spelling instruction wit indirect integrated approaches, we hypothesize that children who receive direct instruction in spelling will have better development of orthographic processing skills that will lead to better fluent reading and comprehension skills relative to children who do not receive direct instruction in spelling; 4) Generalization - by implementing parallel studies in Houston and Washington, D.C., we can examine whether our training and intervention approaches can be implemented in other urban, university schools and whether the results of the Houston studies can be replicated in other settings. All studies are designed for longitudinal assessment of growth based on individual change models. Careful assessment of sources of individual differences are made in each study. Dependent variables at the micro-level are growth in phonological and orthographic skills, vocabulary, and rapid naming. At the macro-level, dependent variables are attainment of academic skills.
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