Recent Highlights from Our Collection

Below are highlights from our most recent acquisitions. Research Connections scans its newest acquisitions, focusing on those from key organizations and journals, to identify resources to feature here.

What is the role of English versus Spanish vocabulary in predicting the English literacy skills of low-income Latino English language learners?

The relative importance of English versus Spanish language skills for low-income Latino English language learners' early language and literacy development
Sonnenschein, Susan, 01/01/2016

The association between monolingual children's early language abilities and their later reading performance is well established. However, for English language learners, the pattern of associations between early language skills and later literacy is much less well understood for English language learners. This study examined language predictors of preschool, low-income Latino English language learners' (N = 112) spring vocabulary and literacy skills. Only children's English language skills at the start of preschool, not Spanish or conceptual vocabulary (child received credit for knowledge of word in either English or Spanish), were significant predictors of subsequent vocabulary and literacy scores. In addition, vocabulary and language comprehension together accounted for more variance in spring performance than vocabulary alone. Finally, data from a small subset of parents (N = 21) suggested that the children's Spanish skills were being maintained through activities at home. Discussion focuses on the application of findings to assessment and practice in the preschool classrooms. (author abstract)

What are the recent evaluation findings from Georgia's Rising Pre-Kindergarten Summer Transition Program?

Evaluation findings from Georgia's 2015 Rising Pre-Kindergarten Summer Transition Program
Early, Diane Marie, 02/01/2016
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved from the Bright From the Start Web site: http://www.decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/STP2015Report.pdf

A recent evaluation of Georgia's Pre-K program suggested that additional supports were needed for Georgia's growing population of children from homes where English was not the predominant language. Peisner-Feinberg, Schaaf, and LaForett (2013) found that although Spanish-speaking dual language learners (DLLs) made significant gains during the pre-k year, they entered and left pre-k significantly behind their monolingual English-speaking peers on all outcomes. Based on that finding, DECAL decided to provide a summer program to support children from homes where Spanish is the predominant language as they make the transition to pre-kindergarten. The RPre-K program operated for six weeks in June and July and was offered for free to participating families. Children in the program were from low-income families and were DLLs from homes where Spanish was the predominant language. Several components were in place to meet the program's overall goal of preparing children for success in Georgia's Pre-K. First, RPre-K class size was small, with a maximum of 14 children, and each class had both a lead and an assistant teacher. Second, the RPre-K classrooms were required to use a specific curriculum, the dual-language edition of Opening the World of Learning (OWL; Dickinson, et al., 2011), to support language development and pre-kindergarten readiness. Third, a half-time transition coach was hired for every class to help families meet transition needs and to offer parent educational activities. Finally, every classroom was required to have at least one teacher (lead or assistant) who spoke Spanish. During this third summer of implementation, DECAL funded 30 RPre-K classrooms at 21 sites in 13 counties; 57% were housed in private child care facilities and 43% were located in public schools. This represented a sizable expansion from 2014, when DECAL funded 20 RPre-K classrooms at 13 sites in 10 counties. Approximately 420 children participated in RPre-K in 2015. Table 1 (see sidebar) specifies the types of professional development provided to RPre-K lead teachers and transition coaches in the summer of 2015. The overarching purpose of this project was to provide DECAL with information that will allow them to improve the program in future years. The specific aims were to: (1) describe the quality of teacher-child interactions in RPre-K classrooms, (2) understand the amount and purposes of Spanish and English used in the classrooms; (3) provide information about participating children's growth in early academic skill, especially language, during the program; (4) describe the services provided to participating children and their families; and (5) understand reasons that attendance may be lower than during the school year. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Transition to Kindergarten and Child Outcomes Brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

How does a job-embedded professional development initiative impact early childhood professionals?

The Ounce PDI Study: Development evaluation of a job-embedded professional development initiative for early childhood professionals
Whalen, Samuel P., 03/01/2016
Chicago, IL: Center for Urban Education Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.theounce.org/Ouncei3_UIC_EVAL_FINAL_Report_030216.pdf

he purpose of the 3-year evaluation study was to assess the effectiveness of the Ounce PDI in advancing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of community-based early childhood leaders and teachers in relation to creating the conditions for superior developmental outcomes and kindergarten readiness for low-income, under-served students served by these community-based centers. Therefore, the evaluation pursued three broad goals: First, we intended to monitor and summarize patterns of implementation over the full span of the PDI in order to assess fidelity and feasibility of implementation. Second, we aimed to assess impacts of implementation on the professional learning of teachers, leaders, and coaches, and more distally, upon the growth and development of children in all intervention centers. Third, drawing on Improvement Sciences methodology, we planned to strike a productive balance between the roles of independent, external summative evaluator, on the one hand, and collaborative formative evaluator providing rich and timely data and feedback to the design development process. (author abstract)

How does the fidelity of implementation of an early-literacy intervention impact preschool children with disabilities in early childhood special education classrooms?

Fidelity of implementation for an early-literacy intervention: Dimensionality and contribution to children's intervention outcomes
Guo, Ying, 10/01/2016

This study examined fidelity of implementation (FOI) in the context of an early-literacy intervention involving 83 early childhood special education (ECSE) teachers and 291 three- to five-year old children with disabilities in their classrooms. Adherence, dosage, participant responsiveness, and program differentiation were assessed as multiple dimensions of FOI. Results demonstrated that a three-factor model of adherence and dosage, participant responsiveness, and program differentiation offered the best fit to the data to represent FOI. Further, program differentiation significantly related to children's early-literacy gains, and the effects of the intervention on children's gains in early literacy were fully mediated by program differentiation. Findings have implications for the design of effective early-literacy interventions and also for theorizing the construct of FOI. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preschool Inclusion Brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the afterschool program experiences of children and families living in communities of concentrated poverty?

America After 3PM special report: Afterschool in communities of concentrated poverty
Afterschool Alliance, 08/01/2016
Washington, DC: Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/Concentrated_Poverty.pdf

Given the promising role afterschool programs can play in addressing the inequities faced by families living in communities of concentrated poverty, and with the rise in the number of people living in communities of concentrated poverty, this special America After 3PM report examines the afterschool program experience of children and families living in communities of concentrated poverty in regard to participation, access, activities and satisfaction. (author abstract)

What is the current capacity of city afterschool systems to collect and use data to inform their decisions and system-building activities?

Connecting the dots: Data use in afterschool systems
Spielberger, Julie, 04/01/2016
Chicago: University of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children. Retrieved from the Wallace Foundation Web site: http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Connecting-the-Dots-Data-Use-in-Afterschool-Systems.pdf

With support from The Wallace Foundation, nine cities across the country are participating in the Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative, a multi-year effort to strengthen the systems that support access to and participation in high-quality afterschool programs for low-income youth. The nine cities were selected in part because they already had a solid foundation for an afterschool system that included strong city leadership and mayoral commitment. This interim report documents how these cities used data to inform and improve their afterschool systems over a two-year period from 2012 through 2014. (author abstract)

How are families accessing child care using public transportation?

Transit-accessible child care study
Valorose, Jennifer, 06/01/2016
St. Paul, MN: Wilder Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.wilder.org/Wilder-Research/Publications/Studies/Transit-Accessible%20Child%20Care/Transit-Accessible%20Child%20Care%20Study%20-%20Prepared%20for%20Metro%20Transit,%20Full%20Report.pdf

Metro Transit's Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Office contracted with Wilder Research in the fall of 2015 to conduct a study on transit-accessible child care, particularly the ability of families to access child care via public transportation. Anecdotally, the TOD Office believed many transit riders opt to stop using transit once they have kids and lower-income families who rely on transit have fewer child care options due to the location of child care relative to their homes and workplaces. The study focused on addressing the following questions, with are addressed in the following pages of the report. 1. How many child care facilities in our region are within easy walking distance of high-frequency transit stops? (See "The Twin Cities child care market" on page 2.) 2. What is the capacity and availability of open slots in these facilities relative to the number of children living in these areas? Is the "supply" of transit-accessible child care adequate? (See "Transit-accessible child care in the Twin Cities" on page 3.) 3. What barriers do transit users face in accessing child care facilities and using transit with children? (See "Transportation barriers to accessing child care" on page 10.) 4. What are potential strategies for increasing the capacity and/or quality of transit-accessible child care facilities? (See "Recommendations" on page 15.) (author abstract)

What are the financial costs of interrupting a career to care for one's own child full time?

Calculating the hidden cost of interrupting a career for child care
Madowitz, Michael, 06/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/17091517/ChildCareCalculator-methodology.pdf

To help families calculate the financial costs of interrupting a career so a parent can become a full-time caregiver, the Center for American Progress has developed a simple, customizable interactive tool. The single most important contribution this tool makes, and the most important lesson for families using the tool, is placing these financial tradeoffs in the economic framework of opportunity costs, or costs people incur when they lose out on potential gains. (author abstract)

To see a complete list of new research, please view Archived New Research.