Showing posts with label NELP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NELP. Show all posts

Monday, August 24, 2009

Applying Research to the Teaching of Reading: Here is a Brief Update on the National Reading Panel Findings

Recently, I was asked to give a talk to Expanding the Reach schools in Arizona. Expanding the Reach (ETR) has been a federal effort to help schools to take Reading First style actions without receiving all of the Reading First style support and regulations.

I was to talk to them about the reading research as reviewed by the National Reading Panel (NRP). There is a problem with doing that, however. The NRP completed its work in 2000, and there have been two major federal panels since that time, the National Early Literacy Panel (that looked at preschool and kindergarten literacy) and the National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth (that looked at second-language literacy). There have also been a plethora of federal research reports and other research, such as the Reading First impact study. We want teachers to follow the research, but not just the research from a decade ago.

What I did is gave a fairly conventional talk in which I laid out the research findings in the five instructional areas where NRP had findings, but for each of them, I have added a what's new section. So, for example, I shared the studies from NRP that show that phonemic awareness instruction matters, but I then noted that NELP had found a payoff for phonological awareness for younger kids (that is, that it is important to start out with larger sound units than phonemes to get the ball rolling). Or, I explained the NRP phonics findings, but supplemented those with the findings showing that English learners sometimes bring adequate phonics to English (e.g., if they can already read Spanish), and that phonics instruction has a smaller effect size with second language kids (meaning that just raising their phonics won't have as big a payoff for these kids). I showed the comprehension findings from NRP, but pointed out that Reading First had little impact on either the teaching of comprehension or comprehension achievement.

I thought it was a useful way to go, and the audience responded positively, so here is a copy of the powerpoint for your use. It is a nifty summary of the NRP, with some useful updates.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Don't Miss Your Chance to Discuss Early Literacy Report

I just agreed to participate in an asyncronous online discussion of the National Early Literacy Panel report. This is the report that reviewed the research on preschool and kindergarten literacy that has been getting so much recent attention. The discussion in being sponsored by the National Institute for Literacy and will include Laura Westberg, from the National Center for Family Literacy (she was the PI on the report), Tori Molfese, a panelist from the University of Louisville, and me.

It's kind of neat: you can submit questions or comments that get posted, but then throughout next week, Laura, Tori, and I will be posting our responses, etc. It is a nice opportunity. Here is the address for subscribing to that discussion, hope I see you there:

And here is more information about it:

The Impact of the Findings of the National Early Literacy Panel March 9 - 13, 2009

The Family Literacy Discussion List will facilitate a panel discussion about the recommendations of the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) and their impact on educators, parents and other children's caregivers. Three members of the NELP will participate in the discussion. The discussion will take place March 9-13, 2009. Please read the details below, think about the questions, raise questions of your own, and prepare for an exciting look at the findings of the National Early Literacy Panel.

The National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) was convened in 2002 to conduct a synthesis of the scientific research on the development of early literacy skills in children ages zero to five. The objective for convening the NELP was to identify interventions and practices that promote positive outcomes in literacy for preschool children.

The National Institute for Literacy (Institute) acted as the lead agency in this project, in consultation with cooperating agencies from the Partnership for Reading. The National Center for Family Literacy, working closely with the Institute, coordinated NELP's work in the completion of the synthesis.

The panel's report, Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel, was released on January 8, 2009. Developing Early Literacy serves as the basis for several, research-based recommendations for parents and the early childhood community, including educators, caregivers, and Head Start providers on promoting the foundational skills of life-long literacy.

Guest Panelists
Laura Westberg is Director of Special Projects/Research at the National Center for Family Literacy. In this capacity, she oversees research and evaluation across the organization for determining the effectiveness of products and services that contribute to the literacy development of young children through adults. Her responsibilities include project management and supervision, project design, product development, research and evaluation, and proposal and grant writing. Ms. Westberg directed the work of the National Early Literacy Panel and coordinated a meta-analysis on parent involvement in children's reading acquisition for the National Institute for Literacy.

Victoria Molfese is the Ashland/Nystrand Chair in Early Childhood Education at the University of Louisville and Director of the Center for Research in Early Childhood. She received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and has published journal articles, books, and book chapters in the area of cognitive development in infants, children and adults. She has received grants in support of research activities, including an NIH funded longitudinal research grant on brain and behavioral predictors of language, reading and cognitive development in children from birth through age 13 years. She currently is conducting research on early predictors of reading and mathematics abilities in infants and preschool children, efficacy of mathematics intervention in preschoolers on improving skills of children at risk at kindergarten entry and the development of interventions for infants and preschoolers to mitigate development of learning disabilities. Dr. Molfese served as a member of the National Early Literacy Panel.

Timothy Shanahan is the chair of the National Early Literacy Panel. Dr. Shanahan is also a Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of the UIC Center for Literacy. He has served as Director of Reading for the Chicago Public Schools, and is a former first grade teacher. His research focuses on the relationship of reading and writing, the assessment of reading ability, family literacy, and school improvement. He has published more than 100 articles, chapters, and books on these topics.

Discussion Questions
1. What were the questions that the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) answered?
2. What types of interventions did the NELP look at?
3. What are the implications of the NELP findings for the instruction and assessment of young children?
4. What do the findings of the NELP mean to adult/parent educators?
5. How can parents best utilize the findings of the NELP to bolster the learning of their children?

Read the Executive Summary of the NELP Report, Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel, to enrich your participation in the discussion. It may be downloaded from

A copy of the full report can be downloaded from

Free print copies are available from EDPubs at

A powerpoint presentation of NELP:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

National Early Literacy Panel Released

Today at the National Press Club, the National Early Literacy Panel Report was released. All of us on the panel were relieved to have this work completed and that it is now available to everybody. If you would like a copy, click here:

This report focuses on what works in improving the literacy skills of preschoolers and kindergarten children. It got a lot of attention from the press and various policy people (including someone from the Obama Transition Team). This is important work and it is sure to be a widely cited and used work in early literacy. More details on this later, but for now, read the report!