No AccessLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in SchoolsResearch Article1 Jan 2007

The Effects of In-Service Education to Promote Emergent Literacy in Child Care Centers: A Feasibility Study


    The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of a 2-day in-service education program for (a) promoting the use of two emergent literacy strategies by early childhood educators and (b) increasing children’s responses to these strategies.


    Sixteen early childhood educators were randomly assigned to an experimental and a control group. The experimental in-service program sought to increase educators' use of abstract utterances and print references. Educators were videotaped with small groups of preschoolers during storybook reading and a post-story craft activity. Pretest and posttest videotapes were coded to yield rates of abstract language, verbal print references, and children’s responses.


    In comparison to the control group, educators in the experimental program used more abstract utterances that elicited talk about emotions and children’s past experiences during storybook reading. They also used significantly more print references during a post-story craft activity. In addition, children in the experimental group responded more often with appropriate responses to abstract utterances and print references in comparison to children in the control group.


    A 2-day in-service education program resulted in short-term behavioral changes in educators' use of abstract language and print references. Suggestions for improving instruction include providing opportunities for classroom practice with feedback, modeling the use of strategies in classroom routines, and long-term mentoring of educators to promote retention of gains.


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