The efficacy of supplemental early literacy instruction by community-based tutors for preschoolers enrolled in head start

J. Ron Nelson, Elizabeth A. Sanders, Jorge Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of the current study was to test the efficacy of a supplemental phonological awareness focused intervention delivered by community-based paraeducators with preschool children (M = 4.73 years) in eight Head Start classrooms in the rural Midwest. Participating children were randomly assigned to small groups within classrooms, which were in turn were randomly assigned to receive either treatment or control (vocabulary-focused storybook reading) instruction in small groups for 20 min/day, 5 days/week, for 10 weeks (February-April). All instruction was delivered by community-based paraeducator tutors. At posttest, treatment students (n = 41) outperformed controls (n = 47) on measures of alphabetic knowledge (d = 1.22) and phonological awareness (d = .62). No significant differences between conditions were detected on print awareness or vocabulary. Overall, the results demonstrate that at-risk preschoolers benefit from community-based paraeducator implemented supplemental phonological awareness and alphabetic knowledge instruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2010



  • Emergent literacy
  • Head Start
  • Multilevel modeling
  • Phonological awareness
  • Preschool
  • Randomized trial
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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