Small Change In Reading To Preschoolers Can Help Disadvantaged Kids Catch Up

NPR recently posted an interesting article about the big impact of small changes.

The NPR article is excerpted here:

For the study, they gave two groups of preschool teachers books for an entire school year — 30 weeks’ worth of books. One group was told to read the books normally; the other was given weekly cards with specific questions the teacher could ask — really just small phrases — that might momentarily draw a child’s attention to the print on the page.                            

The teachers were told to read their books four times a week, and to point out the print in this way between four and eight times, so that together the small phrases hardly added extra time to their reading sessions — maybe 90 seconds per book.                             

It is hard to imagine that such a small adjustment would make any difference. It was a series of moments, questions and gestures. How much could that do?               

So far, the kids have been followed for two years. They are now in first grade, and according to the most recent findings, which were published in the journal Child Development, even these small changes make a measurable difference.                            

“Children who focused their attention on print … had better literacy outcomes than those who did not,” says Piasta. “It was very clear.”

For more of the story about how little changes make a big difference, visit NPR’s education blog.  Says Scott McConnell, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

 

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