Summary of the Systematic Review

Article Citation

Developing Early Literacy Report of the National Early Literacy Panel: A Scientific Synthesis of Early Literacy Development and Implications for Intervention

National Early Literacy Panel. (2008).
Jessup (MD): National Institute for Literacy, 260.
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Sponsoring Body

Department of Health and Human Services; National Institute for Literacy

Article Quality Ratings

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Indicators of Review Quality

  • Yes The review states a clearly focused question/aim.
  • Yes Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided.
  • Yes Search strategy described in sufficient detail for replication.
  • No Included studies are assessed for study quality.
  • N/A Quality assessments are reproducible.
  • No Characteristics of the included studies are provided.

Article Details

Description

This is a meta-analysis of published, peer-reviewed experimental or quasi-experimental studies investigating programs and interventions to improve early literacy development in young children with and without disabilities.  

Questions/Aims Addressed

This reviews addressed the following research questions:
  1. "What are the skills and abilities of young children (age birth through five years or kindergarten) that predict later reading, writing, or spelling outcomes? 
  2. Which programs, interventions, and other instructional approaches or procedures have contributed to or inhibited gains in children's skills and abilities that are linked to later outcomes in reading, writing, or spelling? 
  3. What environments and settings have contributed to or inhibited gains in children's skills and abilities that are linked to later outcomes in reading, writing, or spelling? 
  4. What child characteristics have contributed to or inhibited gains in children's skills and abilities that are linked to later outcomes in reading, writing, or spelling?" (p. 2).

Population

Children from birth to five years of age

Intervention/Assessment

Various types of reading interventions (i.e., code-focused, shared-reading, parent and home programs, preschool and kindergarten programs, language-enhancement)

Number of Studies Included

Predictors: 234 studies; Interventions: 136 studies

Years Included

up to present


Conclusions from This Systematic Review

What are Conclusions?

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Assessment

"Oral language was found to play a bigger role in later literacy achievement when it was measured using more complex measures that included grammar, the ability to define words, and listening comprehension than when measured using only simple vocabulary knowledge" (p. viii).

Keywords: Early Intervention, Morphology/Syntax, Semantics, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

The following early literacy skills were moderately correlated with at least one later literacy outcome, but did not maintain predictive ability or were not yet evaluated for later literacy outcomes:
  • concepts about print; 
  • print knowledge;
  • reading readiness; 
  • oral language; and 
  • visual processing.

Keywords: Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Spelling, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

The following variables were found to be correlated with later literacy outcomes and to maintain significant prediction ability of literacy outcomes even when the role of other variables (e.g., intelligence quotient, socioeconomic status) were considered:
  • alphabet knowledge;
  • phonological awareness;
  • rapid automatic naming (RAN) of letters or digits;
  • RAN of objects of colors;
  • writing or writing one’s own name; and 
  • phonological memory.

Keywords: Early Intervention, Phonology, Reading Fluency, Spelling, Writing, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Interventions, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

Treatment

"Oral language was found to play a bigger role in later literacy achievement when it was measured using more complex measures that included grammar, the ability to define words, and listening comprehension than when measured using only simple vocabulary knowledge" (p. viii).

Keywords: Early Intervention, Morphology/Syntax, Semantics, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

Home and parent programs were found to yield moderate to large effect sizes (ES) on oral language outcomes (ES= .28) and general cognitive abilities (ES= .65). "The effects of these programs on children’s oral language skills were consistent across measures of simple vocabulary and measures of more complex oral language skills" (p. 179).

Keywords: Provider, Setting, Provider, Early Intervention, Semantics, Learning Disabilities, Peer-Mediated Interventions (PALS/Reciprocal Learning), Speech and Language Disorder, Multiple Populations

“The evidence supports the positive impact of shared-reading interventions that are more intensive in frequency and interactive in style on the oral language and print knowledge skills of young children” (pp. 163-164).

Keywords: Dosage, Dosage (Frequency/Intensity), Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Dialogic Reading, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Learning Disability, Reading Aloud Interventions (Dialogic Reading/Repeated Reading), Speech and Language Disorder

Shared-reading interventions in young children were found to yield moderate effect sizes (ES) on oral language skills (ES= .66) and print knowledge (ES= .51). “For oral language skills, these effects were robust across variations in the type of shared-reading intervention and the children’s ages or their risk status.... Shared-reading interventions appear to be equally effective for older and younger children” (p. 162).

Keywords: Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Dialogic Reading, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Reading Aloud Interventions (Dialogic Reading/Repeated Reading), Learning Disability, Speech and Language Disorder

Service Delivery

Language-enhancement interventions were found to increase oral language skills, to a large and statistically significant degree, in children with language impairments or with normal language functioning. “Older children, between three and five years of age, did not get as big a language boost from these interventions as did the younger children” (p. 222). This indicated the advantage of intervening earlier rather than later.

Keywords: Timing, Early Intervention, Morphological Interventions, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Learning Disability, Speech and Language Disorder

Home and parent programs were found to yield moderate to large effect sizes (ES) on oral language outcomes (ES= .28) and general cognitive abilities (ES= .65). "The effects of these programs on children’s oral language skills were consistent across measures of simple vocabulary and measures of more complex oral language skills" (p. 179).

Keywords: Provider, Setting, Provider, Early Intervention, Semantics, Learning Disabilities, Peer-Mediated Interventions (PALS/Reciprocal Learning), Speech and Language Disorder, Multiple Populations

“The evidence supports the positive impact of shared-reading interventions that are more intensive in frequency and interactive in style on the oral language and print knowledge skills of young children” (pp. 163-164).

Keywords: Dosage, Dosage (Frequency/Intensity), Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Dialogic Reading, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Learning Disability, Reading Aloud Interventions (Dialogic Reading/Repeated Reading), Speech and Language Disorder

Go to Map

Assessment

The following early literacy skills were moderately correlated with at least one later literacy outcome, but did not maintain predictive ability or were not yet evaluated for later literacy outcomes:
  • concepts about print; 
  • print knowledge;
  • reading readiness; 
  • oral language; and 
  • visual processing.

Keywords: Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Spelling, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

The following variables were found to be correlated with later literacy outcomes and to maintain significant prediction ability of literacy outcomes even when the role of other variables (e.g., intelligence quotient, socioeconomic status) were considered:
  • alphabet knowledge;
  • phonological awareness;
  • rapid automatic naming (RAN) of letters or digits;
  • RAN of objects of colors;
  • writing or writing one’s own name; and 
  • phonological memory.

Keywords: Early Intervention, Phonology, Reading Fluency, Spelling, Writing, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Interventions, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

Treatment

"In general, ... variables, such as age, SES [socioeconomic status], and race, did not seem to alter the effectiveness of the various interventions [(i.e., code-focused, shared-reading, parent and home programs, preschool and kindergarten programs, language-enhancement)]" (p. x). 

Keywords: Reading Fluency, Learning Disabilities, Peer-Mediated Interventions (PALS/Reciprocal Learning), Speech and Language Disorder, Phonics-Based Treatments (Orton-Gillingham/LiPS/Alphabet Phonics), Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Interventions, Reading Aloud Interventions (Dialogic Reading/Repeated Reading)

Age or developmental level of children were not found to influence the effectiveness of code-focused interventions. "The majority of the code-focused interventions summarized by this meta-analysis were conducted as either individual-level or small group–level interventions. There was no evidence that whole-class or large-group code-focused interventions will produce similar-sized effects on children’s reading-related skills" (p. 119). 

Keywords: Format (Group), Reading Fluency, Spelling, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Phonics-Based Treatments (Orton-Gillingham/LiPS/Alphabet Phonics), Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Interventions

The following early literacy skills were moderately correlated with at least one later literacy outcome, but did not maintain predictive ability or were not yet evaluated for later literacy outcomes:
  • concepts about print; 
  • print knowledge;
  • reading readiness; 
  • oral language; and 
  • visual processing.

Keywords: Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Spelling, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

The following variables were found to be correlated with later literacy outcomes and to maintain significant prediction ability of literacy outcomes even when the role of other variables (e.g., intelligence quotient, socioeconomic status) were considered:
  • alphabet knowledge;
  • phonological awareness;
  • rapid automatic naming (RAN) of letters or digits;
  • RAN of objects of colors;
  • writing or writing one’s own name; and 
  • phonological memory.

Keywords: Early Intervention, Phonology, Reading Fluency, Spelling, Writing, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Interventions, Learning Disability, Multiple Populations, Speech and Language Disorder

Language-enhancement interventions were found to increase oral language skills, to a large and statistically significant degree, in children with language impairments or with normal language functioning. “Older children, between three and five years of age, did not get as big a language boost from these interventions as did the younger children” (p. 222). This indicated the advantage of intervening earlier rather than later.

Keywords: Timing, Early Intervention, Morphological Interventions, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Learning Disability, Speech and Language Disorder

“Preschool and kindergarten programs do affect young children’s development of conventional literacy skills as well as important emergent literacy skills…. The largest impact of the preschool and kindergarten programs was on the composite measure of [school] readiness” (p. 198).

Keywords: Format (Group), Reading Fluency, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers

Home and parent programs were found to yield moderate to large effect sizes (ES) on oral language outcomes (ES= .28) and general cognitive abilities (ES= .65). "The effects of these programs on children’s oral language skills were consistent across measures of simple vocabulary and measures of more complex oral language skills" (p. 179).

Keywords: Provider, Setting, Provider, Early Intervention, Semantics, Learning Disabilities, Peer-Mediated Interventions (PALS/Reciprocal Learning), Speech and Language Disorder, Multiple Populations

“The evidence supports the positive impact of shared-reading interventions that are more intensive in frequency and interactive in style on the oral language and print knowledge skills of young children” (pp. 163-164).

Keywords: Dosage, Dosage (Frequency/Intensity), Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Dialogic Reading, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Learning Disability, Reading Aloud Interventions (Dialogic Reading/Repeated Reading), Speech and Language Disorder

Shared-reading interventions in young children were found to yield moderate effect sizes (ES) on oral language skills (ES= .66) and print knowledge (ES= .51). “For oral language skills, these effects were robust across variations in the type of shared-reading intervention and the children’s ages or their risk status.... Shared-reading interventions appear to be equally effective for older and younger children” (p. 162).

Keywords: Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Dialogic Reading, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Reading Aloud Interventions (Dialogic Reading/Repeated Reading), Learning Disability, Speech and Language Disorder

Code-focused interventions were found to have moderate to large effect sizes (ES) on measures of conventional literacy (e.g., reading, writing) and on measures of pre-literacy skills (e.g., phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge). Code-focused interventions were found to have the greatest effect on phonological awareness (ES= .82). Age or developmental level of children were not found to influence the effectiveness of code-focused interventions.

Keywords: Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Writing, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Phonics-Based Treatments (Orton-Gillingham/LiPS/Alphabet Phonics), Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Interventions

Service Delivery

Age or developmental level of children were not found to influence the effectiveness of code-focused interventions. "The majority of the code-focused interventions summarized by this meta-analysis were conducted as either individual-level or small group–level interventions. There was no evidence that whole-class or large-group code-focused interventions will produce similar-sized effects on children’s reading-related skills" (p. 119). 

Keywords: Format (Group), Reading Fluency, Spelling, Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Disorder, Phonics-Based Treatments (Orton-Gillingham/LiPS/Alphabet Phonics), Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Interventions

Language-enhancement interventions were found to increase oral language skills, to a large and statistically significant degree, in children with language impairments or with normal language functioning. “Older children, between three and five years of age, did not get as big a language boost from these interventions as did the younger children” (p. 222). This indicated the advantage of intervening earlier rather than later.

Keywords: Timing, Early Intervention, Morphological Interventions, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Learning Disability, Speech and Language Disorder

“Preschool and kindergarten programs do affect young children’s development of conventional literacy skills as well as important emergent literacy skills…. The largest impact of the preschool and kindergarten programs was on the composite measure of [school] readiness” (p. 198).

Keywords: Format (Group), Reading Fluency, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers

Home and parent programs were found to yield moderate to large effect sizes (ES) on oral language outcomes (ES= .28) and general cognitive abilities (ES= .65). "The effects of these programs on children’s oral language skills were consistent across measures of simple vocabulary and measures of more complex oral language skills" (p. 179).

Keywords: Provider, Setting, Provider, Early Intervention, Semantics, Learning Disabilities, Peer-Mediated Interventions (PALS/Reciprocal Learning), Speech and Language Disorder, Multiple Populations

“The evidence supports the positive impact of shared-reading interventions that are more intensive in frequency and interactive in style on the oral language and print knowledge skills of young children” (pp. 163-164).

Keywords: Dosage, Dosage (Frequency/Intensity), Early Intervention, Reading Fluency, Dialogic Reading, Speech and Language Disorder, Struggling/At-Risk Readers, Learning Disability, Reading Aloud Interventions (Dialogic Reading/Repeated Reading), Speech and Language Disorder

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