Laura M. Justice's research while affiliated with The Ohio State University and other places

Publications (358)

Article
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Several researchers have shown that children’s ability to make inferences is related to their reading comprehension. The majority of research on this topic has been conducted on older children. However, given the recent focus on the importance of narrative comprehension in prereaders, the current study examined the relationship between inference ma...
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The current study examined the association between frequency of storybook reading and emergent literacy in 212 children at risk for language impairment, assessed during the fall semester of kindergarten. Measures included parent-reported storybook reading, as well as direct assessments of print knowledge, letter awareness, and expressive vocabulary...
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Review of current federal and state standards indicates little consensus or empirical justification regarding appropriate goals, often referred to as benchmarks, for preschool letter-name learning. The present study investigated the diagnostic efficiency of various letter-naming benchmarks using a longitudinal database of 371 children who attended...
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In this study, we examined the longitudinal relations between frequency and features of reading experiences within the preschool classroom to children's language and literacy outcomes in kindergarten and 1st grade. Frequency refers to the number of shared reading sessions conducted each week as measured by teachers' written reading logs recorded ac...
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Many preschoolers from low socioeconomic-status (SES) backgrounds demonstrate lags in their language development, and preschool participation is viewed as an important means for mitigating these lags. In this study, we investigated how teacher-child relationship quality and children's behavior regulation within preschool classrooms were associated...
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The present study investigates the role of attitudinal variables, such as children's literacy interest and parents’ reading beliefs, in conjunction with home literacy activities (HLA), in predicting children's print-concept knowledge. The objective of the study is to test a theoretical model describing the relationship among these variables. This s...
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International collaborations allow for an important exchange and flow of ideas. Over the past two years, our team of researchers, clinicians, and graduate students has collaborated with the Solyluna School. The Solyluna School is in Merida, Mexico, and serves children with severe language and cognitive impairments. The context of the Solyluna Schoo...
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This study examined the relations among features of the classroom physical literacy environment (book materials, literacy area and writing materials) and psychological literacy environment (instructional support), and preschool children's gains in two areas of emergent literacy over an academic year. Results showed that features of the physical lit...
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The present study investigated the effect of professional development (PD) on preschool teachers’ conversational responsivity in the classroom, defined as teachers’ use of strategies to promote children's participation in extended conversational exchanges (communication-facilitating strategies) and exposure to advanced linguistic models (language-d...
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a b s t r a c t Participation in shared-reading experiences is associated with children's language and literacy outcomes, yet few standardized assessments of shared-reading quality exist. The purpose of this study was to describe the psychometric characteristics of the Systematic Assessment of Book Reading (SABR), an observational tool designed to...
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Abstract In response to Baker (2012) unpacking critical components of optimal intervention intensity, this article explores what is currently known regarding intervention intensity for emergent literacy for children at risk for delays in this area of development. Studies specifically addressing intervention intensity related to phonological awarene...
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Longitudinal results for a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) assessing the impact of increasing preschoolers' attention to print during reading are reported. Four-year-old children (N = 550) in 85 classrooms experienced a 30-week shared reading program implemented by their teachers. Children in experimental classrooms experienced shared-book readin...
Preprint
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This is a paper I wrote back in 2012 when I was laying down the conceptualization for academic language in preschool. The paper was submitted to Journal of Early Childhood Literacy but the revision was not accepted. I am including it here as FYI, and so that people will have access to the concepts. This unpublished version can be cited as needed an...
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This study examined preschool teachers’ (n=59) explicit print instruction during shared reading and considered whether the benefits of this practice to children's learning (n=379) varied as a function of the classroom environment and children's developmental characteristics. Measures of explicit print instruction and the classroom environment (glob...
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Background Providing preschoolers at-risk for reading difficulties with additional support is of increasing interest in early childhood education. However, the research on programming in preschool for this additional support is limited and yields inconclusive findings. Objective The current studies explore different grouping configurations in a sup...
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In this study, the authors used sequential analysis to explore bidirectional and dynamic dependencies between mothers' question use and children's verbal participation during shared reading. The sample was composed of mothers and their preschool-age children with specific language impairment (SLI; n = 14). Each mother and child extratextual utteran...
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The present research examines whether children’s daily attendance rates would be predictive of gains in expressive language within the context of high-quality preschool classrooms. The quality of preschool classrooms was assessed by measuring the quality of the teacher’s interactions with the children in his or her classroom. Hierarchical linear mo...
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Reading comprehension involves two primary processes: (a) decoding printed text and (b) understanding language accessed through the process of decoding. In the early years of reading development, children’s ability to comprehend text is largely constrained by individual differences in decoding printed text; however, once decoding becomes automatize...
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With an increasing number of young children participating in preschool education, this study determined whether peer effects are present in this earliest sector of schooling. Specifically, this work examined whether peer effects were influential to preschoolers' growth in language skills over an academic year and whether peer effects manifest diffe...
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As early education grows in the United States, in-service professional development in key instructional and interaction skills is a core component of capacity-building in early childhood education. In this paper, we describe results from an evaluation of the effects of MyTeachingPartner, a web-based system of professional development, on language a...
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This study investigated the relations among preschool teachers’ behavior management, children's task orientation, and children's emergent literacy and language development, as well as the extent to which task orientation moderated the relation between teachers’ behavior management and children's emergent literacy and language development. Participa...
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The present study involved a systematic longitudinal analysis, with three points of assessment in the second year of life, of gestures/actions, word comprehension, and word production in a sample of very preterm infants compared to a sample of full-term infants. The relationships among these competencies as well as their predictive value on languag...
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This study examined the extent to which teacher responsivity education affected preschoolers' language and literacy development over an academic year. Additional aims were to determine whether children's initial language abilities and teachers' use of responsivity strategies were associated with language outcomes, in particular. In this randomized...
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The present study examined the extent to which two dimensions of intervention intensity, (dose frequency and dose) of a 30-week print-referencing intervention related to the print knowledge development of 367 randomly selected children from 55 preschool classrooms. Dose frequency refers to the number of intervention sessions implemented per week; t...
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This study examined how teacher (teaching experience, perceptions of teacher collaboration and teacher influence) and classroom (children’s engagement) characteristics predicted teacher self-efficacy for 48 preschool teachers in the U.S. Results showed a significant interaction effect between teachers’ perceptions of collaboration and children’s en...
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Parents, including parents of children with disabilities, are often challenged to find preschools that meet their families’ various needs and desires. Research on preschool quality is prevalent, but these studies rarely consider how parents perceive quality. This descriptive study asked what parents value most when choosing a preschool for their ch...
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The present study describes preschool read-alouds in terms of the types of texts to which children are exposed. The methods involved analyzing the genre and instructional foci of 426 titles read by 13 teachers throughout an entire academic year. Additionally, associations between teacher characteristics and texts teachers read in their classrooms w...
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The implementation processes associated with a home-based phonological awareness intervention were observed for mothers and their 4-year-old children with specific language impairment (SLI). Mother-child dyads (n = 13) read books four times per week over 12 weeks; each book contained nine embedded phonological awareness (PA) tasks. Four hundred and...
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This study evaluated the feasibility, efficacy, and social validity of a parent-implemented intervention for promoting print knowledge in preschoolers with language impairment. This trial involved 62 children and their parents. Each dyad completed a 12-week intervention program. Parents in the treatment group implemented print-focused reading sessi...
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Research Findings: This study investigated relations among preschool teachers' (n = 75) sense of community, classroom language and literacy instructional quality, and children's (n = 398) gains in vocabulary and print concept knowledge during an academic year. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) results indicated that teachers' language and literacy...
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This study tested the theory that future poor comprehenders would show modest but pervasive deficits in both language comprehension and production during early childhood as compared with future poor decoders and typical readers. Using an existing database (NICHD ECCRN), fifth-grade students were identified as having poor comprehension skills (n=16)...
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Letter name knowledge (LNK) is a key predictor of later reading ability and has been emphasized strongly in recent educational policy. Studies of LNK have implicitly treated it as a unidimensional construct with all letters equally relevant to its measurement. However, some empirical research suggests that contextual factors can affect the measurem...
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Storybook features, such as linguistic richness and print salience, potentially influence how a teacher references print. This study addressed two research questions: (1) to what extent does the linguistic richness and print salience of children's storybooks relate to teachers’ use of print referencing? and (2) to what extent is there an interplay...
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The primary aim of the present study was to explore the heterogeneity of emergent literacy skills among preschool-age children with specific language impairment (SLI) through examination of profiles of performance. Fifty-nine children with SLI were assessed on a battery of emergent literacy skills (i.e., alphabet knowledge, print concepts, emergent...
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Specific language impairment is a developmental language disorder characterized by failure to develop language normally in the absence of a specific cause. Previous twin studies have documented the heritability of reading and language measures as well as the genetic correlation between those measures. This paper presents results from an alternative...
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Letter knowledge is a key aspect of children's language development, yet relatively little research has aimed to understand the nature of lowercase letter knowledge. We considered 4 hypotheses about children's lowercase letter knowledge simultaneously--uppercase familiarity, uppercase-lowercase similarity, own-name advantage, and frequency in print...
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We examined the Simple View of reading from a behavioral genetic perspective. Two aspects of word decoding (phonological decoding and word recognition), two aspects of oral language skill (listening comprehension and vocabulary), and reading comprehension were assessed in a twin sample at age 9. Using latent factor models, we found that overlap amo...
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Although premature birth is associated with lags in language acquisition, it is unclear whether preterms exhibit an elevated risk for language impairment (LI). This study determined whether preterms, without frank cerebral damage, at 2;6 and 3;6 exhibited a higher rate of risk for LI as compared to full-terms, and also sought to identify predictors...
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To provide a primer regarding treatment fidelity as it affects evidence-based practice (EBP) for speech-language pathologists. This tutorial defines treatment fidelity, examines the role of treatment fidelity for speech-language pathologists, provides examples of fidelity measurement, and describes approaches for assessing treatment fidelity. Treat...
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The purpose of this study was to examine children’s reading engagement and communicative initiations when they were read storybooks in varying media and reading manners, with a focus on understanding the way electronic storybooks (e-storybooks) may affect young children’s shared reading experiences. The reading behaviors of 25 preschool-aged childr...
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This large-scale, experimental study aimed to (a) describe the extent to which teachers of preschool children at risk for reading difficulties make references to print during whole-class, shared-book read alouds and (b) empirically test the extent to which participation in professional development influences teachers’ frequency of references to pri...
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This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of teachers' use of a print-referencing style during whole-class read-alouds with respect to accelerating 4- and 5-year-old children's print-knowledge development. It also examined 8 specific child- and setting-level moderators to determine whether these influenced the relation between teacher...
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MyTeachingPartner (MTP) is a teacher professional development program designed to improve the quality of teacher-child interactions in pre-kindergarten classrooms and children's language and literacy development. The program includes language/literacy activities and two Web-based resources—video exemplars of effective interactions and individualize...
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While advances in network and pathway analysis have flourished in the era of genome-wide association analysis, understanding the genetic mechanism of individual loci on phenotypes is still readily accomplished using genetic modeling approaches. Here, we demonstrate two novel genotype-phenotype models implemented in a flexible genetic modeling platf...
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Relatively little is known regarding preschool teachers’ use of specific scaffolds, including those high support scaffolds (e.g., co-participating, eliciting, reducing choices) that may be important for children who are struggling to acquire language and literacy concepts. The goal of this study was to characterize preschool teachers’ use of six ty...
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There is surprisingly little empirical research examining issues of fidelity of implementation within the early childhood education literature. In the MyTeachingPartner project, 154 teachers were provided with materials to implement a supplemental classroom curriculum addressing six aspects of literacy and language development. The present study ex...
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Research Findings: Artfulness is rarely considered as an indicator of quality in young children's spoken narratives. Although some studies have examined artfulness in the narratives of children 5 and older, no studies to date have focused on the artfulness of preschoolers' oral narratives. This study examined the artfulness of fictional spoken narr...
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Studies have suggested genetic and environmental influences on overall level of early reading whereas the larger reading literature has shown environmental influences on the rate of growth of early reading skills. This study is the first to examine the genetic and environmental influences on both initial level of performance and rate of subsequent...
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This study examined the relations among preschool teachers' self-efficacy (n = 67), classroom quality (instructional and emotional support), and children's (n = 328) gains in print awareness and vocabulary knowledge over an academic year in the US. Results indicated that teachers' self-efficacy and classroom quality served as significant and positi...
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The purpose of the present study was to conduct a comprehensive study of book genres used in preschool classrooms. Text titles gathered from the reading logs of 84 preschool teachers were analyzed and coded for genre (narrative, expository, or mixed). Expository or mixed texts were then further examined according to topics covered. Analyses indicat...
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The potential benefit that a low-cost scripted language and literacy supplemental curriculum titled Read It Again! (RIA; L. M. Justice, A. S. McGinty, A. R. Beckman, & C. R. Kilday, 2006) may have on preschool-age children's skills was explored. RIA was developed to meet the needs of preschool educators who may not have access to current commercial...
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Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a model of clinical decision-making that is increasingly being advocated for use in the field of speech-language pathology. With the increased emphasis on scientific evidence as a form of knowledge important to EBP, clinicians may wonder whether their craft-based knowledge (i.e., knowledge derived from theory and pr...
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Analysis of children's spoken narratives represents a potentially informative approach to language assessment within early childhood settings. Yet, narrative assessment is not readily amenable to at-scale use given the time needed to collect, transcribe, and analyze a child's narrative sample and the lack of consensus regarding what aspects of narr...
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This study examined the extent to which preschool teachers used literal and inferential questions during classroom-based shared reading. Specific foci included (a) investigating the association among the level of literal or inferential language in the text, teachers’ text-related questions, and children's responses using sequential analysis, and (b...
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This clinical forum was organized to provide a means for informing the research and clinical communities of one mechanism through which research capacity might be enhanced within the field of speech-language pathology. Specifically, forum authors describe the process of conducting secondary analyses of extant databases to answer questions of releva...
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The purpose of this study was to explore patterns of within-group variability in the emergent literacy skills of preschoolers who are at risk for academic difficulties. We used the person-centered approach of cluster analysis to identify profiles of emergent literacy skills, taking into account both oral language and code-related skills. Participan...
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The present article illustrates how the National Household Education Surveys (NHES; U.S. Department of Education, 2009) database might be used to address questions of relevance to researchers who are concerned with literacy development among young children. Following a general description of the NHES database, a study is provided that examines the...
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This article describes the current state of evidence regarding treatment intensity of print referencing intervention. Although studies of print referencing intervention demonstrate overall net positive impacts for children's emergent literacy development, researchers have yet to identify explicitly how often children should experience print referen...
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The frequency with which adults reference print when reading with preschool-age children is associated with growth in children's print knowledge (e.g., L.M. Justice & H.K. Ezell, 2000, 2002). This study examined whether prekindergarten (pre-K) teachers naturally reference print during classroom shared reading and if verbal print references occur at...
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This article describes how educators can readily increase emergent readers' print knowledge by using an evidence-based technique called print referencing to ensure that classroom read-alouds include not only a comprehension focus, but also a complementary focus on print. Print referencing was recently described in The Reading Teacher as an importan...
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This article provides an overview of how response to intervention (RTI) may be used effectively within early childhood settings. Discussion is organized to address such issues regarding RTI implementation as (1) how to design and implement a high-quality Tier 1 learning environment that systematically improves children's language and literacy outco...
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This study examined associations between peers' expressive language abilities and children's development of receptive and expressive language among 1,812 four-year olds enrolled in 453 classrooms in 11 states that provide large-scale public pre-kindergarten (pre-k) programs. Higher peer expressive language abilities were positively associated with...
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The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive validity of teacher report for assessing the emergent literacy skills of preschool-age children. The aims were twofold: (a) to examine predictive relationships between teacher report and direct behavioral assessment, and (b) to examine the extent to which teacher report accurately differenti...
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This study tested the hypotheses that (a) persistent language difficulties during childhood would predict lower school readiness and (b) language difficulties present just prior to school entry would predict lower school readiness beyond any effects of persistence. The study involved examining indicators of school readiness collected at kindergarte...
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Research Findings: This research examined preschoolers' exposure to 6 types of language stimulation techniques (LSTs) in classrooms serving at-risk children and considered whether specific activity contexts were associated with educators' rate of use of different LSTs. Several teacher-directed and child-directed activity contexts were videotaped in...
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This study examined the impact of teacher use of a print referencing style during classroom-based storybook reading sessions conducted over an academic year. Impacts on preschoolers' early literacy development were examined, focusing specifically on the domain of print knowledge. This randomized, controlled trial examined the effects of a print ref...
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The 2 studies reported in this manuscript collectively address 3 aims: (a) to characterize the name-writing abilities of preschool-age children with language impairment (LI), (b) to identify those emergent literacy skills that are concurrently associated with name-writing abilities, and (c) to compare the name-writing abilities of children with LI...
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The current work examined which theory of reading development, the cumulative reading trajectory or the compensatory trajectory of development, most accurately represents the reading trajectories of children with language difficulties (LD) relative to their peers with typical language (TL) skills. Specifically, initial levels of reading skills, ove...
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Research Findings: This study reports on the outcomes of a multisite, two-tiered, response-to-intervention instructional model for delivering phonological awareness instruction and intervention to kindergartners. Fifty-seven kindergartners from 3 classrooms participated in a supplemental phonological awareness program, and 56 kindergartners from 3...
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As the workforce in state-funded pre-kindergarten programs continues to grow in the United States, the promise of these and other early education opportunities (e.g., Head Start) depends in large part on in-service professional development and training in key instructional and interaction skills. In this paper, we describe effects of MyTeachingPart...
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Many children with specific language impairment (SLI) demonstrate delays in print knowledge, yet the reasons for these delays are not well understood. The present study investigates the degree to which developmental risk factors and home literacy experiences predict the print knowledge of children with SLI. Direct child measures, maternal reports,...
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Research Findings: The teacher–child relationship can provide an important support to young children who exhibit developmental risk. This research studied the contribution of children's language skills, temperamentally based attributes (shyness, anger), and gender to closeness and conflict in the teacher–child relationship for 133 preschoolers atte...
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This study examined preschool teachers' fidelity to the language-focused curriculum (LFC; B. Bunce, 1995), a comprehensive classroom curriculum designed to improve at-risk children's language outcomes through targeted improvements to a classroom's activity contexts (e.g., dramatic play, art, storybook reading) and instructional processes (e.g., tea...
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The primary purpose of this study was to investigate child impacts following implementation of a comprehensive language curriculum, the Language-Focused Curriculum (LFC; Bunce, 1995), within their preschool classrooms. As part of this larger purpose, this study identified child-level predictors of expressive language outcomes for children attending...
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How much do preschool children look at print within storybooks when adults read to them? This study sought to answer this question as well as to examine the effects of adult verbal and nonverbal references to print on children's visual attention to print during storybook reading. Forty-four preschool-aged children participated in this study designe...
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One feature of literate language, noun phrase elaboration, was examined in the oral fictional narratives of school-aged children. Two narratives were elicited from 5-, 8- and 11-year-old children, 1 in response to a picture sequence and 1 in response to a single picture. Noun phrases were categorized into 4 types. Simple designating noun phrases we...
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Research Findings: Challenging the development of high-quality preschool education is the instability of the preschool teacher workforce, blamed in part on workplace conditions including isolationism, perceived lack of career reward, and lack of preparation. Little attention has been given to whether a preschool's organizational climate can mitigat...
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Research Findings: This study investigated the complexity of teacher questions in 14 preschool classrooms serving economically disadvantaged 4-year-olds. The purposes were to explore the frequency and complexity of teacher questions and to determine the extent to which question types varied for different classroom contexts. Using teacher utterances...
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Research Findings: This research investigated the associations among children's preliteracy skills, mothers' education, and mothers' beliefs about shared-reading interactions for 45 Appalachian families. These variables were studied for lower income, primarily European American, families residing in a geographically isolated, small, rural community...
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Policy-makers, administrators, researchers, and teachers are increasingly vested in ensuring the quality of preschool instruction, particularly in the areas of language and literacy. This research was conducted to characterize the quality of language and literacy instruction in 135 publicly-funded preschool classrooms serving at-risk pupils. As all...
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In this article, the authors discuss high priority instructional targets that should be addressed in early childhood classrooms to support emergent and early literacy development. Additionally, this article discusses the collaborative role speech-language pathologists can play in providing early literacy support at varied stages of the RTI process.
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The aim of this work was to critically examine the methodological quality of recent treatment research in speech–language pathology, focusing specifically on group-design studies (randomized, controlled trials and quasi-experimental-design studies). We also considered whether methodological quality differed as a function of a particular study's tre...
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Self-reported maternal literacy beliefs and home literacy practices were compared for families of children with typicially developing language skills (TL, n = 52) and specific language impairment (SLI, n = 56). Additionally, the present work examined whether maternal beliefs and practices predicted children's print-related knowledge. Mothers filled...
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Evidence-based practice is a process to which clinical professionals adhere when making decisions concerning the assessment or treatment of a given condition. Within the field of speech-language pathology, it is increasingly advocated as best practice. As our profession seeks to transform itself from one that is primarily craft-based to one that re...