Case Studies

Characterizing the Effectiveness of the Waterford Early Learning Programs

In this research paper you’ll find: a brief overview of early literacy skills and reading instruction in the U.S.; the role of technology reading instruction; and, research highlights and effectiveness studies for Waterford Early Learning curriculum. An excerpt from the paper:

While some progress has been made in recent years, it is clear that a large percentage of students continue to struggle with basic reading skills during their first years in school, and that these difficulties can result in deficits that remain, or grow, in the later grades (Cunningham and Stanovich, 1997; Whitehurst, 2003; Pressley, 1998). Early reading difficulties can sometimes appear even before a child enters kindergarten; language and word learning skills seem to be significantly affected by early family experience (Hart & Risley, 1995). Whether a problem begins during or before the time a child starts school, research has noted that large differences in reading technique and achievement are made apparent as early as first grade (Stanovich, 2000). Students behind during the first years of school tend to learn at a slower rate than students who begin ahead; often, this results in a so-called “Matthew effect for reading skills, in which the academically “rich become richer and the “poor become poorer (Walberg, 2003).

While acquiring basic literacy skills has long been considered among the most important elements of early childhood education, many recent efforts to improve reading instruction in U.S. primary schools have not met with encouraging results, especially among lower-performing students (Viteritti, 2004, p. 69; Guthrie & Springer, 2004; Cohen, Raudenbush, & Ball, 2003).

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