Long-Term Effects through Grade Three of the Early Authors Program for Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Preschoolers




Borre, Alicia

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The current study analyzes longitudinal measures from kindergarten through third grade for 84 low-income, ethnically diverse (55% Black, 45% Hispanic) children who, during preschool, participated in the Early Authors Program (EAP) (Bernhard, Winsler, Bleiker, Ginieniewicz, & Madigan, 2008), and a comparison group of 38 children with similar socio - demographic characteristics. The EAP is a literacy intervention that targeted preschool children attending center-based or home-based childcare in Miami. Children self-authored books depicting their daily lives. Teachers and families were engaged in literacy activities, and technology was used in the classroom to facilitate the children’s authoring of the texts. Initial published results showed that the EAP contributed to language development by increasing expressive and receptive language skills and letter recognition, and also by preventing children from falling behind in relation to national averages, compared to control children (Bernhard et al., 2008). Readiness for school at kindergarten entry and emergent literacy in English as well as children’s math and reading skills in second and third grades were assessed here with standardized tests. Furthermore, teachers provided children’s academic grades at the end of each school year (K-3), and information was gathered regarding retention, use of special education, and English proficiency. Significant differences in school readiness between children participating in the EAP program and children in the comparison group were found, with EAP children being more likely to be classified as “ready” for school. Likewise, EAP children showed stronger emergent literacy (in English) in K according to the DIBELS. No other main effects of group were observed for outcomes through third grade. However, interaction effects were observed between group and gender, and group by ethnicity. Boys in the EAP group performed better than boys in the comparison group in school readiness, kindergarten grades, and in literacy and other academic grades in first grade. Black children in the EAP group performed better than black children in the comparison group on literacy, other academic grades, and FCAT math in third grade.



Longitudinal, Literacy, Early, EAP