Ladders To Literacy For Kindergarten (page 2)
Ladders to Literacy is a supplemental early literacy curriculum published in Ladders to Literacy: A Kindergarten Activity Book. The program targets children at different levels and from diverse cultural backgrounds—those who are typically developing, have disabilities, or are at risk of reading failure. The activities are organized into three sections with about 20 activities each: print awareness, phonological awareness skills, and oral language skills. While a Ladders to Literacy curriculum is also available for preschool students (Ladders to Literacy: A Preschool Activity Book), this intervention report focuses on the Kindergarten version of the curriculum.
Four studies of Ladders to Literacy met the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards with reservations. The studies included 760 students from Kindergarten classrooms at more than 14 elementary schools in urban and rural Midwest districts. 2 The WWC considers the extent of evidence for Ladders to Literacy to be medium to large for alphabetics and comprehension and small for fluency. No studies that met WWC evidence standards with or without reservations addressed general reading achievement.
The Ladders to Literacy program was found to have potentially positive effects on alphabetics and fluency and mixed effects on comprehension.
|Alphabetics||Reading fluency||Comprehension||General reading achievement|
|Rating of effectiveness||
Potentially positive effects
|Potentially positive effects||Mixed effects||na|
|Improvement index3||Average: +25 percentile points
Range: +8 to +47 percentile points
|+26 percentile points||Average: +9 percentile points
Range: +1 to +17 percentile points
1 The descriptive information for this program was obtained from publicly available sources: the program's and distributor's websites (www.wri-edu.org/ladders; www.brookespublishing.com; downloaded April 2007) and the research literature (O'Connor, 1999; Fuchs, Fuchs, Thompson, Al Otaiba, Yen, Yang et al., 2001). The WWC requests developers to review the program description sections for accuracy from their perspective. Further verification of the accuracy of the descriptive information for this program is beyond the scope of this review.
2 The evidence presented in this report is based on available research. Findings and conclusions may change as new research becomes available.
3 These numbers show the average and range of improvement indices for three of the four studies. One additional study that showed positive effects in alphabetics was not included in this average and range because effect sizes were not calculated at the student level.
Developer and contact
Ladders to Literacy was developed as a preschool to Kindergarten curriculum by Drs. Notari-Syverson and O'Connor in 1993. The kindergarten Ladders to Literacy book by Drs. O'Connor and Notari-Syverson was first published in 1998 and a second edition was published in 2005. The Ladders to Literacy books are distributed by Brookes Publishing Company. Address: Brookes Publishing Co., P. O. Box 10624, Baltimore, MD 21285-0624. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.brookespublishing.com. Telephone: (800) 638-3775. For professional development training, see http://www.brookespublishing.com/onlocation
Scope of use
According to the developers, the Ladders to Literacy activities and professional development have been field-tested in a variety of kindergarten settings. These include sites that serve young children with disabilities in inclusive and special education settings, as well as sites with small and large groups of children reflecting a range of interests and abilities.
This supplemental curriculum is published in the book Ladders to Literacy: A Kindergarten Activity Book, which focuses on developing early language and literacy skills. Ladders to Literacy: A Kindergarten Activity Book addresses three components: print awareness, phonological awareness, and oral language skills. Typically the teacher chooses activities that can be included in the current classroom routines and that require little preparation time. There are approximately 20 activities in each of the three sections. Some activities can be included weekly, monthly, or on a one-time basis. Most of the activities are designed for large groups and follow a similar format.
Print knowledge activities are designed to help children construct meaning by answering the teacher's questions about environmental print, conventions of print, letter names, and letter sounds. In addition to books, teachers use newspapers, menus, recipes, signs, messages, and writing experiences as learning tools. For the phonological awareness activities, children identify environmental sounds, repeat words or phrases in songs and nursery rhymes, manipulate phonemes in games of alliteration, and blend and segment words. The oral language section contains a collection of activities that provide conversational topics intended to facilitate language development. Using storybooks, pictures, objects, and films, teachers lead the children in labeling and describing objects or events by using questions intended to expand on the child's utterances. Activities in one section (oral language) reference activities in other sections to encourage teachers to integrate activities across skills.
The teachers use the program's observational checklist to determine what tasks and teaching strategies in the lesson are developmentally appropriate for each child. With this information, teachers scaffold instruction by applying more open-ended questioning and feedback to children who need less support and more explicit instruction to children in need of more support.
The Ladders to Literacy: A Kindergarten Activity Book costs $49.95. The manual contains all the components of the program, including its theoretical framework, lesson plans, assessment checklists, and home activities for parents and children. Professional development for Ladders to Literacy is available for an extra cost and consists of a one- or two-day on-site seminar on how to use the curriculum.
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