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Promoting Early Literacy and Reading PI and
Duration Sponsor
Center for Response to Intervention (RtI) in Early Childhood

Carta, J.


USDE - Institute of Education Sciences

Go to CRTIEC Website

Purpose: Reading development depends on language development and pre-literacy experiences prior to formal schooling. Children who have not had many language or early literacy experiences prior to kindergarten face significant challenges learning to read. These children often continue to experience poor reading skills throughout school. With continued failure, many of them may become eligible for special education which may involve services that are "too little too late" and are often very costly for children, their families, and education systems. Given the importance of reading, systems of prevention and intervention in early education settings are needed. The growing use of Response to Intervention (RtI) models in elementary schools has attracted attention among early childhood educators and researchers. RtI is a systematic problem-solving process designed to recognize students' difficulties early, provide students with a level of instructional intensity matched to their level of need, and then provide a data-based method for measuring their progress. While the use of RtI in preschool settings holds great promise, a numbers of questions exist about how these models will be translated from elementary school settings. The Center's primary objectives are (1) to conduct focused research to develop and rigorously evaluate and replicate intensive interventions for preschool language and early literacy skills and (2) to develop and validate an assessment system linked to these interventions. In addition, the research team will provide national leadership on development and implementation of RtI models for young children and conduct supplementary studies related to RtI and assessment issues. The Center's long-term goal is to prevent disabilities in reading by increasing the number of young children who enter school with knowledge and skill in early literacy and language.

Focused program of research: Two interventions will be developed and evaluated. These interventions will be used as supplementary (i.e., Tier II) and tertiary (i.e., Tier III) interventions in an RtI model. The interventions will consist of intensified instruction in oral language, vocabulary, phonological and phonemic awareness, print awareness, alphabetic knowledge, and comprehension. Researchers will evaluate the efficacy of these interventions during the final two project years. In addition, a series of language and early literacy measures to be used for screening and progress monitoring will be developed. These will include measures of phonological awareness, comprehension, and language skills. A focused series of validation studies will be conducted to produce a preschool assessment system for identifying students who need intensive intervention and for measuring their progress. The research sites include Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, and Minnesota.


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  • Postdoctoral Researchers (Early Intervention): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project (JGCP) is recruiting 2 postdoctoral researchers interested in developing expertise in designing, implementing and disseminating research carried out while developing evidence-based practices with community partners focused on early intervention, early care, and early education settings. The postdoctoral position is a full-time (100% FTE), 2 years, research-dedicated fellowship. Postdoctoral researchers will learn and develop new advances in the prevention and intervention of learning and behavior problems in young children. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Student Hourly (Data Collectors): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, a community-based research institute affiliated with the University of Kansas, is conducting a research program aimed at evaluating how a Practice Based Coaching model (Literacy 3D) can be used to enhance the literacy focus of early childhood (EC) teachers through data-driven decision making and strategies that boost children’s opportunities to respond in literacy activities. We are seeking 4-10 student hourly employees who will be responsible for data collection activities with preschool students and teachers, including administering literacy assessments to children, observing classroom instruction and interactions, and assisting in the preparation and delivery of data reports in the Kansas City Metro, as well as data management and entry at our offices in downtown Kansas City, KS. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Assistant/Associate Research Professor - Statistician: The KU Life Span Institute at Juniper Gardens is seeking to hire an Assistant or Associate Research Professor with statistical skills to work in a team environment on a range of educational and applied research projects. For more information and to apply, click here.  KU is an EO/AAE
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