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Ongoing Research: Emergent Literacy Skills Enhancement

Grant Winners

  • Ralph Cash, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Sarah Valley-Gray, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Angela Waguespack, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Kent Grelling, Ph.D. – Mailman Segal Center for Human Development
  • Pamela Kasyan-Itzkowits, M.S. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Barbara Zucker, M.A. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • James Pann, Ph.D. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • Dana Scott Mills, Ph.D. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • Tanya Mahaphon, OD. – College of Optometry
  • Deborah Amster, OD. – College of Optometry


  • Karen Grosby – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Wendy Masi – Mailman Segal Center for Human Development
  • Richard Davis – College of Health Care Sciences
  • H. Wells Singleton – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • David Loshin – College of Optometry


Award Winners

The present multidisciplinary, collaborative study will explore the efficacy of an enhancement to early childhood curriculum designed to promote reading readiness among preschoolers. The benefits of early identification of and intervention with children who are at- risk for reading difficulties is not only well documented in the literature (e.g., Lyon, 1999) but also firmly established in federal law. Subjects will be approximately 200 preschool students from three to five years of age who attend the Family Center of the Mailman-Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies and the Jack and Jill Children's Center, two preschool settings chosen for their racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity. Vision, hearing, and developmental screening data will be collected in early fall by faculty-supervised students from the Center for Psychological Studies (CPS), Allied Health/Occupational Therapy Department (OT), and the Fischler Graduate School of Education and Human Services (FGSE). An efficient, effective means for identifying children from diverse backgrounds who are at risk for deficiencies in key areas of early literacy (i.e., print/book awareness, oral language, and metalinguistic awareness) based on data collected from the current year's study will be utilized. The Ladders to Literacy program, chosen for its demonstrable effectiveness with kindergarten age children and modified for preschoolers, will be employed and evaluated for its efficacy compared with traditional preschool curricula. Tests of early literacy skills will be administered in the spring by faculty-supervised students from CPS and FGSE. Feedback will be given to parents following the screenings and testing sessions. The proposed study seeks to provide an important training function for graduate students in the areas of preschool assessment and early literacy intervention, prepare students for functioning in multidisciplinary settings, further the knowledge of students and teachers in the study in early literacy acquisition, and contribute to the knowledge base of the field as a whole.

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