College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Center for Research in Educational Policy
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Literacy Research and Evaulation Center

The ability to read is a foundational skill that is necessary for future success. CREP has evaluated many literacy-based initiatives and programs including those aimed at pre-kindergarten and elementary students, adolescent learners, English Language Learners, and adults. In addition to providing evaluation services, CREP also offers professional development in the form of Leadership Academies. These Academies are aimed at providing school administrators and teachers with the knowledge and tools to improve literacy instruction.

Selected recent projects

Accelerated Reader/Reading Renaissance

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computerized information system that provides both students and teachers with immediate diagnostic feedback on student reading practice through short quizzes. AR is the core component of the Reading Renaissance program which uses guided reading practices to improve student reading ability. Teachers use AR quizzes to guide reading practice by selecting books at the appropriate level, monitoring comprehension of books read, and providing further reading practice. CREP conducted a randomized field trial to examine the impact of the AR program on student achievement. Link to report.

Comprehensive Literacy Model

The Comprehensive Literacy Model is used to improve achievement in literacy for all students by addressing reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing through implementation of research-based practices. Student data and learning goals drive instruction, while ongoing professional development provides teachers with knowledge and skills to deliver effective instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and text comprehension. An uninterrupted block of literacy instruction integrates such components as shared and guided reading, explicit phonics instruction, interactive writing and small group lessons designed to meet individual student needs. Data-driven small group and one-on-one interventions afford additional, differentiated instruction to support learning of at-risk students. CREP is currently evaluating implementation progress and subsequent outcomes of the Comprehensive Literacy Model in combination with various clusters of supplemental programs and funding, such as Reading First, Accelerated Reader, and Reading Recovery in the Little Rock School District.

Early Reading First

Early Reading First is a U.S. Department of Education initiative that funds local programs that provide high quality, early education to young children, especially those from low-income families. Early Reading First is part of the No Child Left Behind Act and was created to prepare young children to enter kindergarten with the necessary language, cognitive, and early reading skills for learning success. The initiative promotes coherent, skill based instruction in the years before kindergarten. CREP has evaluated Early Reading First initiatives in TN, WI, and OK. In general, the evaluations were developed to: (a) obtain a broad-scale perspective of schools' progress and outcomes relative to Early Reading First goals and (b) engage the participating school in operationalizing, evaluating, and improving their literacy development programs, in order to increase ownership, quality, and sustainability during and following the funding period.

Literacy Collaborative Program

Literacy Collaborative (LC) is a comprehensive school reform model designed to improve the reading, writing, and language skills of students in grades K-8. Through long-term professional development, coupled with implementation standards within each school, the LC offers systemic support to classroom teachers as they implement research-based approaches. CREP has evaluated the LC program in diverse settings in different states. The evaluations have included classroom observations, surveys, interviews, and analysis of student achievement scores.

Leveled Literacy Intervention

The Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) utilizes small group, fast-paced instruction to quickly improve the reading and writing skills for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade who are struggling and deemed to be falling behind their peers. CREP evaluated the implementation and outcomes associated with LLI in 22 schools in New York City. A needs assessment, teacher surveys, interviews, and analysis of student reading test scores were utilized in the evaluation. Link to report.

Opening the World of Learning (OWL)

Opening the World of Learning (OWL) is a research-based, comprehensive preschool curriculum developed by Judith Schickedanz and David Dickinson in collaboration with Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools. Consistent with NAEYC standards, it supports all aspects of child development through thematic units with daily activities such as morning meeting, center time, story time, outdoor play, songs and word play, and small group instruction. OWL emphasizes meaningful teacher-student verbal interactions, phonological awareness and letter knowledge to facilitated children's language and literacy development. Since 2003, OWL has been used in over 150 school districts in 39 states. CREP is currently conducting a randomized, longitudinal study that evaluates the effectiveness of this preschool curriculum on the literacy achievement of children and the instructional practice of preschool teachers.

Reading First

The Reading First (RF) grant is a U. S. Department of Education program that provides funds to state agencies for distribution to districts and/or schools to improve K-3 classroom reading instruction. CREP has conducted RF evaluations in 3 states. The evaluations incorporated classroom observations, teacher and Literacy Leader questionnaires, school-developed RF program implementation benchmarks, and student achievement scores from state-mandated tests and DIBELS. Link to report.

Reading Recovery

The goal of Reading Recovery is to dramatically reduce the number of first grade students who have difficulty learning to read and write and to reduce the cost of these learners to educational systems. Reading Recovery is a short-term intervention program of one-to-one tutoring for the lowest-achieving first graders. Individual students receive a half-hour lesson each school day for 12 to 20 weeks with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher. As soon as students can read within the average range of their class and demonstrate that they can continue to achieve, their lessons are discontinued and new students begin individual instruction. CREP conducted an evaluation of the Reading Recovery program for the Little Rock School District. The evaluation included analyses of Reading Recovery student achievement and program data, (2) principal, teacher, and parent surveys and interviews, and observations of Reading Recovery tutoring sessions. Link to report.

Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP)
325 Browning Hall
Memphis, TN 38152-3340
Office: (901) 678-2310
Toll free: 1-866-670-6147
Fax: (901) 678-4257

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Last Updated: 2/6/12