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Based on the scenario below, construct a 2-3 paragraph plan outlining how you will observe and assess the student. In alignment with the lesson viewings and readings, how might you best assess Lauren? What materials and approaches could you use to determine Lauren’s current skills? How might the results from the assessment drive your instruction? Include connections to references and resources. Using APA format. ** attached articles and chapters for this weeks assignment. “Lauren is a very spirited 4-year 8-month preschooler. She enjoys drawing, “reading” books, and writing for a variety of purposes.”
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The Journal of Educational Research
ISSN: 0022-0671 (Print) 1940-0675 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/vjer20
A 3-Year Study of a School-Based Parental
Involvement Program in Early Literacy
Susan Ann Crosby, Timothy Rasinski, Nancy Padak & Kasim Yildirim
To cite this article: Susan Ann Crosby, Timothy Rasinski, Nancy Padak & Kasim Yildirim (2015)
A 3-Year Study of a School-Based Parental Involvement Program in Early Literacy, The Journal of
Educational Research, 108:2, 165-172, DOI: 10.1080/00220671.2013.867472
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.2013.867472
Published online: 11 Sep 2014.
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The Journal of Educational Research, 108:165–172, 2015
Copyright Ó Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0022-0671 print / 1940-0675 online
DOI:10.1080/00220671.2013.867472
A 3-Year Study of a School-Based
Parental Involvement Program
in Early Literacy
SUSAN ANN CROSBY
K. R. Hanchey Elementary School
KASIM YILDIRIM
Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Turkey
TIMOTHY RASINSKI
NANCY PADAK
Kent State University
ABSTRACT. Although parental involvement in children’s
literacy development has been recognized for its potential in
helping children develop early literacy achievement, studies
of the effectiveness and sustainability of school-based parent
involvement programs are not numerous. This study examines the effectiveness and durability of a school-based parent
involvement program that was implemented by school staff
without external supervision over 3 consecutive years in a
public school. Results indicate that implementation of the
program was associated with higher levels of children’s
achievement in foundational literacy competencies. Moreover, the program has sustained over 3 years and actually
grew in the levels of parental participation over time. The
authors argue that effective and systemic parental involvement programs are possible and can be guided by certain
principles of program development and if implemented by a
committed teaching staff.
Keywords: early literacy, family involvement, foundational
literacy skills
G
etting children off to a successful start in reading
is critical to their later development as readers.
Juel (1988) reported a 90% probability that a
child who was a poor reader at the end of Grade 1 would
remain a poor reader at the end of Grade 4. More recently,
Hernandez (2011) noted that students who are not reading
at grade level by Grade 3 are 4 times less likely to graduate
from high school on time than children who are reading
proficiently at Grade 3. Yet, despite these dire pred-ictions,
the reality of literacy achievement is disturbing. Data from
the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress
(National Center for Educational Statistics, 2009) reports
that a third of all fourth-grade students in the United
States are reading at a level considered below basic. These
data demonstrate the urgency of developing new ways to
help greater numbers of emerging and early readers
succeed.
Research has also fairly well established that success in
reading, especially for struggling readers, requires students
to read (Allington, 2005). A review of studies on student
reading reported that time engaged in reading is associated
with reading achievement (Morgan, Mraz, Padak, &
Rasinski, 2009). One way to increase the sheer amount of
reading done by students is to encourage reading at home.
Home involvement has been found to be a key ingredient
in student reading success (Fawcett, Padak, & Rasinski,
2013). A large-scale international study of reading
achievement among second-grade students found that
home involvement and amount of time spent reading at
home were the top predictors of student success in reading
(Postlethwaite & Ross, 1992). Several reviews of research
into the impact of parental involvement have been
remarkably consistent in suggesting improvements in
students’ overall learning (Jeynes, 2005) and literacy
development (Senechal & Young, 2008). Moreover, parent involvement in the early years of schooling has been
found to have positive effects on students’ literacy development through grade 3 (Senechal & LeFevre, 2002) and
Grade 4 (Senechal, 2006b). The efficacy of parent involvement programs, however, is not universally endorsed. An
analysis of 41 parental involvement programs (K–12) concluded that there is little empirical evidence to support the
claim that parental involvement programs are an effective
way to improve student learning achievement (Mattingly,
Prislin, McKenzie, Rodriguez, & Kayzar, 2002). In her
review, Quadri (2012) reported that “most schools are
Address correspondence to Timothy Rasinski, Reading and Writing
Center, Kent State University, 401 White Hall, Kent, OH 44242,
USA. (E-mail:trasinsk@kent.edu)
166
involving parents in school-based activities in a variety of
ways but the evidence shows that there is little, if any on
parental efficacy and subsequent learning and achievement
of preschool children” (p. 6). Harris and Goodall (2008)
concluded that parental engagement in children’s learning
in the home leads to the greatest gains in student achievement. Perhaps school-based parental involvement programs that are carried out at home offer the greatest
potential for improving student learning outcomes.
Regardless of the actual approach taken, more empirical
research into parental involvement in student learning is
necessary.
Despite the potential promise of parent involvement in
children’s reading, not all initiatives to and approaches for
home involvement meet with great success over the long
term, often on very practical grounds (Feiler, 2010; Padak
& Rasinski, 2006; Pomerantz, Moorman, & Litwack,
2007). Parental programs on reading often have low parent
turnouts and participation (Moorman, 2002). Anecdotal
reports from teachers and principals note that even programs to involve parents in children’s reading that have
been successful one year often disappear or regress in the
following year as parents’ and teachers’ initial enthusiasm
and excitement over the programs wanes. Maintaining parent involvement in reading over extended periods of time
can be a challenge for most teachers and schools. Despite
our search of several databases (e.g., ERIC, Google
Scholar), we were unable to locate studies on the durability
or sustainability of school-based parent involvement programs in reading. Because this appears to be, at the very
least, a relatively unexplored area, investigations into the
sustainability of school-based parent involvement programs in early literacy are clearly warranted.
Rasinski, Padak, and Fawcett (2009) identified several
principles of successful parent involvement initiatives in
reading. These include the following:
 Use methods of instruction that are proven. In the same
way that we want teachers to use scientifically based
instructional methods, when asking parents to work
with their children in literacy we need to insure that
the methods we share with parents are based on proven,
effective practice.
 Develop a consistent program or instructional routine
that does not vary widely over time. The consistency
allows parents to develop a sense of competence in their
literacy work with their children.
 Make the parent involvement activity easy and quick to
implement. Parents’ time to help their children may be
limited. Moreover, parents do not generally have the
same instructional training as teachers. Programs for
parents should be simple in their implementation and
not take an excessive amount of time—10–15 min per
day seems sufficient.
 Provide training and support. Most parents lack instructional expertise. We need to help parents learn the
The Journal of Educational Research
methods we wish them to implement with their children. Moreover, we need to provide parents with ongoing support in their work with children.
 Whatever we ask parents to do with their children
should be enjoyable and should involve authentic reading. Parents and children are more likely to grasp that
what they are doing at home will help the children
become good readers if the activity involves real reading. Moreover, parents and children are more likely to
persist in implementing the program if they perceive
the instructional activity as fun and enjoyable to do.
In their review of parent involvement in literacy programs, Senechal and Young (2008) identified three types
of involvement—parents reading to their children, parents
listening to their children read, and parents tutoring their
children in reading. Parent programs that involved parents
listening to their children read and parents tutoring their
children in reading had significant positive effects on their
children’s reading development. Although the research
review indicated that parents reading to their children was
not associated with growth in children’s literacy, other
researchers (e.g., Bus, van IJzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995;
Lonigan & Whitehurst 1998) and scholars (e.g., Trelease,
2013) view parents reading to their children as a powerful
tool in children’s early literacy development. In a separate
study Senechal and LeFevre (2002) found that both children’s exposure to books at home and parental instruction
in literacy predicted different aspects of reading development in Grade 3.
Rasinski (1995) and Padak and Rasinski (2005) developed a school- or classroom-based daily parent involvement literacy program of literacy lessons for parents of
young children to accomplish at home called Fast Start
(FS). The program is based on the principles of effective
parent involvement program noted above, elements of
effective foundational fluency instruction (Kuhn & Stahl,
2003; Rasinski, 2010; Rasinski, Reutzel, Chard, & LinanThompson, 2011), and that contain the three types of literacy involvement noted by Senechal and Young (2008).
FS is based on the assumption that word recognition and
fluency are foundational reading competencies that young
children must master early in their reading development
(Chall, 1996; Common Core State Standards Initiative,
2012). These foundational skills form the base for continued literacy development, including silent reading comprehension (Walczyk & Griffith-Ross, 2007). Research on
students who struggle in reading suggests that a substantial
number of students beyond Grade 3 who exhibit difficulty
in reading comprehension and overall reading achievement have not achieved sufficient proficiency in word recognition and fluency (Rasinski & Padak, 1998; Valencia &
Buly, 2004).
In FS parents and children are asked to master a daily
poem or rhyme appropriate for young children. In each
10–15-min lesson a child sits next to the parent and listens
The Journal of Educational Research
to the parent read a rhyme to the child several times.
While listening to the parent read in a fluent manner, the
child’s visual attention is directed to the words on the
page. Next, the child and parent read the rhyme together
two or three times; again the parent draws the child’s
attention to the words on the page by pointing to the
words as they are read. Finally, the child is invited to read
the rhyme to the parent two or three times, again pointing
to the words as they are read. Through the multiple readings of the short text children begin to develop fluency in
recognizing the words in print. The brevity of the poem
allows it to be read multiple times in a matter of minutes.
Adding a bit of word play after this routine provides extra
benefit for two reasons. First, children may have memorized
the poem after several readings; thus, they may not be focusing sufficiently on the words in print. More important,
research has demonstrated the power of this word play. In
2008 Senechal and Young did a meta-analysis of a number
of experimental studies that looked at the effects of three
kinds of parent involvement on children’s reading growth—
parents reading to children, parents listening to children
read, and parents following either of these up with word play
or work on literacy skills. Nearly 1,200 families were
included in the studies they analyzed. Senechal and Young
found that the addition of word play or instruction in other
“literacy skills” was 2 times more effective than having
parents simply listen to their children read and 6 times more
effective than when parents simply read to their children.
Thus, the FS lesson concludes with a brief word play or
word study period. Parents and children select words from
the poem. Interesting words from the poem, for example,
might be written on a sheet of paper. Parents and children
then read and try to use the words in their own language
over the next several days. Similarly, word families from
poems may be identified (e.g., –eep from Little Bo Peep).
Parents and children then brainstorm words containing
the word family and list them on a separate sheet of paper
(e.g., sheep, peep, seep, deep, sleep, jeep, steep, beep, weep,
sweep, creep). Children and parents then practice reading
the words several times over the next several days. Families
can also play simple word games with the words.
Ideally, parents and children engage in learning a FS
poem on a daily basis. However, realizing the time challenges of parenting, teachers may ask parents to complete
a FS lesson fewer times per week. It is essential, however,
that parents and children engage in FS regularly over the
course of multiple weeks. Regular implementation leads to
the greatest gains in reading achievement.
FS has been employed in a variety of generally smallscale school and clinical settings of relatively short term
duration and has been found to be effective in improving
the literacy outcomes of young children (Padak & Rasinski, 2004; Rasinski, 1995; Rasinski & Stevenson, 2005;
Imperato, 2009). Students in these studies have demonstrated improvement in word recognition, fluency, and
overall reading achievement as a result of their
167
involvement in FS. Moreover, parents and children have
overwhelmingly indicated that doing the FS lessons was an
enjoyable experience that had a positive impact on their
children’s literacy learning.
These studies, however, as well as most studies of parental involvement in literacy, have generally been of 1-year
duration. For systemic parent involvement programs to
have a lasting effect they need to effective and they need
to be implemented over multiple years. Most parent
involvement programs are generally not of such an
extended duration. Often, the novelty of the program
wears off and parent (and teacher) involvement in the program fades. Indeed, in our review of studies on parental
involvement in reading, the issue of the durability of the
parental program from one year to the next was not
addressed. Extensive research reviews by Mattingly et al.
(2002) and Senechal (2006a) of the effect of family literacy programs in Grades K–12 and K–3, respectively, did
not examine the durability of such programs. They did not
examine if a program deemed successful continued into
the following academic years. In these reviews a program’s
success was determined by its end-of year or end-of-program effects on student development. However, programs,
even if successful, have little value if they are not maintained from one year to the next. As mentioned earlier,
however, there has been little research, if any, on the sustainability of such programs over multiple years.
In the present study, then, we attempted to address two
key questions in parental involvement in children’s literacy.
Research Question 1: To what extent does FS reading,
implemented as part of a school-based reading program
improve the literacy development of Grade 1 and kindergarten students?
Research Question 2: To what extent is a school able to
maintain a parent involvement program over multiple
years?
Implementing FS in Russell Elementary School
The following section is written from the perspective of
the first author, a teacher in the school in which FS was
implemented. FS was implemented in Russell Elementary
School (school name is a pseudonym), which is located in
the United States. Russell Elementary currently has 610
students enrolled; 88% of the students are on free or
reduced-price lunches. Approximately 60% of students
enrolled are Caucasian, 30% are African American, and
the remaining 10% are Native American, Hispanic, Asian
American, or other. The school has eight preschool classes,
12 kindergarten classes, and 11 Grade 1 classes. The kindergarten and Grade 1 classes have approximately 22 children in each classroom.
We first learned about FS in the spring of 2008 when we
went to a professional development workshop about fluency. Our principal was impressed with the results of
168
previous studies on FS and wanted our school to implement it for our kindergarten and first-grade students.
We started off the 2008–2009 school year with an in-service for all faculty and staff about FS. Each first-grade classroom teacher was given a copy of the implementation book
for the program. We invited the parents to come to one of
two parent meetings. One was offered at night with childcare provided, and another one was offered during the
school day. Our classroom teachers presented the parent
night workshop. FS began in the middle of September and
concluded the first week in May. The classroom teachers
sent home a FS poem and activity page each week (one lesson per week). Parents were asked to do the FS lesson with
the weekly assigned poem two evenings each week. The
program was implemented over 29 weeks, so the total number of lessons that parents were asked to engage in with
their children was 58. Parents recorded the days that they
engaged in the FS lesson on a weekly log. Parent and
teacher surveys were given at the end of the school year to
help improve the following year’s implementation. Given
the limitations in staffing, we chose to follow the progress
of one of our Grade 1 classrooms that implemented FS.
During the 2009–2010 school year, we improved the
program by copying and stapling the poems and activity
pages for the classroom teachers. We also revised the parent log. One log was developed for each 9-week period in
order to make it easier for the teachers and parents to
record participation and maintain records. Poster size copies of the poems were displayed in the school hallways and
were changed weekly in order to coordinate with the poem
that was being sent home. We gave friendly reminders to
the teachers on which poem to send home and what day.
Our principal bought special FS folders for each student.
We sent home the parent survey at the end of April.
Again, we tracked the progress of one of our Grade 1 classrooms using FS.
During the 2010–2011 school year, we continued to do
much of what we did during the 2009–2010 school year.
FS was also introduced to four kindergarten classrooms and
families. The kindergarten poems and activity pages went
home on Mondays and were returned on Fridays. The
parents chose which two nights to do FS. The Grade 1
poems and activity pages went home on Tuesdays and
were returned on Fridays. The first-grade students read
their poem and activity page with their parents on Tuesday
and Wednesday nights. Poems were copied and stapled for
the classroom teachers to distribute to families. FS posters
were displayed in the hall and changed weekly to match
the poem that went home with the students. A different
log was used for each of the four 9-week periods in order to
track parent-students’ use of FS. At the end of the school
year every kindergartener and first-grade student was given
a reward to thank them f …
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