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The Effects of a Computer-mediated Intervention on "At-risk" Preschool Students' Receptive Vocabulary and Computer Literacy Skills.

Description: This study examined the effects of a computer-mediated intervention on "at-risk" preschool students' receptive vocabulary development, computer-literacy skills, and enthusiasm for leaning. Twenty-two preschool-aged children attending an urban primary public school and participating in government subsidized school lunch program participated in the study. A pretest/posttest control-group design and case-study participant observations were used for data collection. Students were assigned to one of two treatment groups. Eleven preschool students with pretest School Readiness Composite (SRC) standard scores of 80, or below, on the Bracken Basic Concept Scale-Revised (BBCS-R), were assigned to the intervention group. Eleven pre-school students matched by age level and teacher comprised the comparison group. The intervention group received computer-mediated instruction while the comparison group received classroom teacher instruction. The first research question examined the effect of the intervention on students' receptive vocabulary analyzing groups' pretest and posttest BBCS-R School Readiness Composite mean scores. Combined analysis of a Two-Factor Repeated Measures and a Posttest only ANCOVA revealed that computer-mediated instruction was as effective as classroom teacher instruction in helping "at-risk" students acquire readiness receptive vocabulary. The second research question examined the effect of the intervention on "at-risk" student's computer-literacy skills analyzing participants pretest and posttest mean scores on the Computer Input Observation Rubric (CIOR), a rubric developed by the researcher. Analysis of One-Factor ANOVA and of Two-Factor Repeated Measures indicated that computer intervention significantly increased students' computer literacy skills. The third research question examined the impact of computer-mediated intervention on preschool students' enthusiasm for learning and followed descriptive case study methodology. Students' level of task involvement and positive-self statements confirmed enthusiasm for learning with technology.
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Date: December 2003
Creator: Alman, Lourdes Fraga

The Great Debate continued: Does daily writing in kindergarten lead to invented spelling and reading?

Description: Many children in the United States cannot read on level by fourth grade. Traditionally, teachers have delayed reading instruction until first grade. However, involving children sooner in literary activities may provide skills needed to enable them to read on grade level. The purpose for this study was to determine the extent to which daily writing in kindergarten influences the development of invented spelling and learning to read. Five teachers modeled writing with 78 kindergarten children who wrote every day or almost every day for 20 weeks. There were 51 children in an experimental group, and 27 in a control group who were given a pretest and a posttest using the Observation Study (Clay, 1993). Results from a mixed model ANOVA indicated a significant difference between the control group and the experimental group on the Dictation Task F (1, 76) = 11.76, P≤ .001 and the Writing Test F (1, 76) = 4.33, P≤ .01. Results from a z-Test of dependent proportions indicated there were significant differences in the reading levels of the control group from the pretest to the posttest (z = 7.51, P ≥ .05) because (z = 7.51, Zcv = 1.96). The experimental group results from pretest to posttest were also statistically significant (z = 6.48, P ≥ .05) because (z = 6.48, Zcv = 1.96). At the end of kindergarten 82.35% of the experimental group was reading, while only 48.15% of the control group was reading. This research indicates that if kindergarten children are encouraged to write daily and use invented spelling there is a greater possibility they will enter first grade reading.
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Date: May 2003
Creator: Pierce, Laura Boehl

An Investigation into the Effects of Long-term Staff Development on Teacher Perceptions and Reading Achievement on Young Children

Description: The effectiveness of long-term staff development (Reading Academy Project-RAP) on students' reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test was examined to determine if teachers transferred newly learned teaching strategies into practice and changed their beliefs about reading instruction. In a four-year cohort longitudinal study in an East Texas rural community, the effects of long-term staff development on third grade students' TAAS test reading scores, teacher practices, and teacher beliefs were explored. Populations included a teacher group (N = 17), an experimental (N = 419), and a control (N = 419) group of students. Children's groups were matched pairs based on five demographic characteristics and membership or non-membership in one or more of six categories. An application survey and four end-of-the-year surveys provided teacher data regarding classroom practices. One interview question provided information about teacher beliefs. Results indicate students who had a RAP teacher for at least one year scored significantly higher on the TAAS reading test in the third grade than those without a RAP teacher. Examination of students having more than one year with an academy teacher failed to produce statistically significant differences in TAAS test reading scores; however, an upward trend was noted. Statistically significant differences were found in 6 of the 20 items on the survey investigating classroom practices. All teachers reported the RAP affected them positively, and 82% confirmed that changes took place in their classroom practices, student behaviors, and teacher responsibilities. Validation of or strengthening existing beliefs accounted for 76% of the teacher responses. Recommendations include adding a population of kindergarten through third graders and following them through high school to determine ultimate reading success, continue surveying teachers to see if effective strategies persist, add a parental involvement component, and replicate this investigation in suburban and metropolitan areas.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Boatman, Vikki