The study’s goal is to determine the effectiveness of a comprehensive Spanish school readiness curriculum combined with small group instruction towards improving literacy, language, math, and social skills for a local group of prekindergarten ELL children from low-income families. Students in the study, with parent consent, will be divided into two groups. One group will receive typical instruction using the Scholastic Early Childhood Program, a widely used pre-K curriculum with a Spanish Version. The second group will test a new Spanish version of the pre-K curriculum, Literacy Express, together with targeted small group instruction for a total of two hours each week. Participating teachers and aides will receive specialized training and assessments throughout the school year – including proven dual-language techniques and progress monitoring – to implement this new curriculum, form small groups, and guide instruction. To test the effects of the study, children will receive pre- and post-assessments in English and Spanish on language, literacy, math, and social skills with a follow-up assessment in their kindergarten year. The project will provide the educational field with information about the impact of small group instructional practices on language and academic development of ELLs. The project also will provide the field with much-needed research surrounding the cross-linguistic transfer of Spanish to English within early academic settings. Due to the fact that the project is longitudinal in nature, we also will be evaluating how educational intensive small group instructional approaches impact ELLs academic competencies in both languages in kindergarten.
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Houston Independent School District