Early childhood academic success is an important factor that plays a role not only in kindergarten and elementary school, but also in later stages of education. Students who fall behind early can experience a cycle of catching up to their classmates. However, implementing programs that develop fundamental numeracy and literacy skills for young learners can help close the education gap for students in kindergarten, and could have lasting effects beyond.
Special Education Assistant Professor Sarah Powell and Professor and Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk Sharon Vaughn have received a $1 million grant from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation to fund their project, Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating Interactive Read-Alouds for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Children in Order to Improve Literacy and Numeracy Skills. This project focuses on developing educational initiatives for children ages 3 to 6 that will improve their numeracy and literacy scores. Studies show that many children are not as ready as they should be when entering school, and Powell believes that these initiatives will better prepare them for kindergarten and elementary school.
The five-year project will develop read-aloud materials that can be used by preschool and early elementary educators, as well as parents, grandparents, and guardians. Extending children’s exposure to these read-alouds can improve mathematics vocabulary, mathematics content knowledge, general language, reading, and mathematics achievement for participating children.
In addition to the benefits children in the program will receive, Powell believes other students will indirectly benefit as well. “We believe these read-aloud tools will positively impact the children directly involved in the study, and influence the learning of older and younger siblings in the home and children in other classes for years to come,” says Powell.