The Impact of Teacher Responsivity Education on Preschoolers' Language and Literacy Skills Purpose This study examined the extent to which teacher responsivity education affected preschoolers' language and literacy development over an academic year. Additional aims were to determine whether children’s initial language abilities and teachers' use of responsivity strategies were associated with language outcomes, in particular. Method In this randomized ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2011
The Impact of Teacher Responsivity Education on Preschoolers' Language and Literacy Skills
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sonia Q. Cabell
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Laura M. Justice
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Shayne B. Piasta
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Stephanie M. Curenton
    Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Alice Wiggins
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Khara Pence Turnbull
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Yaacov Petscher
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Correspondence to Sonia Q. Cabell: sonia@virginia.edu
  • Alice Wiggins is now at the Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville, VA.
    Alice Wiggins is now at the Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville, VA.×
  • Khara Pence Turnbull is now at The Ohio State University, Columbus.
    Khara Pence Turnbull is now at The Ohio State University, Columbus.×
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Holly Storkel
    Associate Editor: Holly Storkel×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2011
The Impact of Teacher Responsivity Education on Preschoolers' Language and Literacy Skills
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2011, Vol. 20, 315-330. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0104)
History: Received December 10, 2010 , Revised May 14, 2011 , Accepted July 4, 2011
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2011, Vol. 20, 315-330. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0104)
History: Received December 10, 2010; Revised May 14, 2011; Accepted July 4, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 37

Purpose This study examined the extent to which teacher responsivity education affected preschoolers' language and literacy development over an academic year. Additional aims were to determine whether children’s initial language abilities and teachers' use of responsivity strategies were associated with language outcomes, in particular.

Method In this randomized controlled trial, preschool centers were assigned to a responsivity education intervention (n = 19 centers, 25 teachers, and 174 children) or a “business-as-usual” control condition (n = 19 centers, 24 teachers, and 156 children). Teachers within the intervention centers received training focused on a set of strategies designed to promote children’s engagement and participation in extended conversational interactions across the school day.

Results Hierarchical linear models showed no main effects on children’s language skills, although moderating effects were observed such that the intervention appeared to have positive effects for children with relatively high initial language abilities. In addition, teacher use of responsivity strategies was positively associated with vocabulary development. With regard to children’s literacy skills, there was a significant main effect of the intervention on print-concept knowledge.

Conclusions Although teacher responsivity education is viewed as benefitting children’s language and literacy development, the impacts of this type of intervention on children’s skills warrant further investigation.

Acknowledgments
We thank the many teachers, children, and research staff who made this study possible, with special mention to Sarah Friel. This research project was supported by Grant R305F05124 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Institute of Education Sciences, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.
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