An Exploration of Instructional Practices that Foster Language Development and Comprehension: Evidence from Prekindergarten through Grade 3 in Title I Schools

An Exploration of Instructional Practices that Foster Language Development and Comprehension: Evidence from Prekindergarten through Grade 3 in Title I Schools

Published: Jul 31, 2017
Publisher: Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
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Authors

Timothy Shanahan

Claudia Gentile

Barbara Carlson

Samuel Rikoon

Key Findings

The practices most consistently related to student growth include:

  • Engaging students in defining new words during or after reading a text
  • Helping students make connections between their prior knowledge and the texts they read• Promoting higher-order thinking by asking questions that require students to analyze information, explain their thinking, and develop new ideas
  • Focusing students’ attention on the meaning of a text before reading it, such as by introducing the topic and encouraging predictions

 

Given the modest and inconsistent effects of existing large-scale early literacy interventions, the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education commissioned this study to investigate additional types of instructional practices that hold potential promise for promoting young children’s language development and comprehension. Using an exploratory design, the study team collected extensive information about instructional practices in prekindergarten through grade 3 within Title I schools and examined the relationships between these practices and student growth in a range of language and comprehension outcomes. Findings from this study are intended to help identify potentially promising practices that ought to be studied further and evaluated on a large scale. 

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