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Developing early literacy

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Report of the National Early Literacy Panel
National Institute for Literacy and the National Center for Family Literacy
Publication Date: 
9 Jan 2009

Description: In 1997, the U.S. Congress requested the appointment of a panel of scientists to review research on reading instruction to determine what could be done to improve reading achievement. The National Reading Panel (NRP) conducted a review of research on elementary and secondary reading instruction (NICHD, 2000), and its report has become the basis of new federal education laws designed to foster improved reading instruction from kindergarten to third grade. As critics have pointed out, NRP failed to examine what could be done during the preschool years to better prepare children for success in reading. This new report seeks to redress that important omission. This report, written by the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP), systematically examines the research on early literacy instruction to determine what best can be done to prepare young children for literate lives. Eleven variables were identified in the research to consistently predict later literacy achievement for both preschoolers and kindergartners. Not surprisingly, these measures were usually more predictive of literacy achievement at the end of kindergarten or beginning of first grade than of later literacy growth. The report provides an analysis of the particular relations among these variables. The panel also identified studies that employed experimental or quasi-experimental methods to determine the effectiveness of instructional strategies, programs, or practices in imparting conventional literacy skills or any of these precursor skills to young children. The panelists then grouped the studies found into five analytical categories.

Entered Date: 
4 Feb 2009
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