Feb 06, 2008


Building Early Language and Literacy (BELL) is an add-on curriculum which focuses on improving language proficiency, phonological awareness, reading skills, and print awareness in pre-kindergarteners. An experimental, randomized evaluation of the BELL program found that it was effective in engaging teachers in oral language, phonological awareness, and print awareness activities. The program did not have any impacts on child related outcomes in any of these areas.


Target population: Preschool children

The Building Early Language and Literacy (BELL) program is a school-based curriculum which seeks to improve pre-kindergarten language proficiency, phonological awareness, and print awareness. The program consists of twice daily 15-20 minute long lessons. Lessons consist of a variety of literature and interactive activities such as shared reading of oversized books, poetry, and songs.


Layzer, J. I., Layzer, C. J., Goodson, B. D., & Price, C. (2007).Evaluation of child care subsidy strategies: Findings from Project Upgrade in Miami-Dade County.U.S.Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Washington, DC.

Evaluated population: 1600 four year-old children living in Miami-Dade County. 75% of children were eligible for free or reduced price lunches.

Approach: 162 child care centers from Miami-Dade County Florida were randomly assigned to one of three different programs (Ready, Set, Leap!; Building Early Language and Literacy (B.E.L.L.); Breakthrough To Literacy (BTL); or a control group which received normal services provided at the child care center. After random assignment was conducted at the child care center level, 1 classroom in each center was selected for the study. Classrooms consisted of four year-old children and all children in a selected classroom took part in the study. All classrooms, intervention and control, received a package of literacy materials and $500 each year to reduce teacher turnover during the study. Baseline measures assessed classroom environment, classroom activities, child language development, and child literacy development which consisted of phonological awareness, print knowledge, and definitional vocabulary. Data were collected again after six months of the intervention implementation and after 18 months of implementation. Two cohorts of children were evaluated based on the same design.

Results:After six months of program implementation, teachers in the treatment groups were more likely to engage children in oral language development (a medium effect size of 0.43), phonological awareness (a medium effect size of 0.58), and learning about print (a medium effect size of 0.33). The intervention did not have any impact on the resources that classrooms had available to children or the activities that teachers used to encourage children to read and use print. The B.E.L.L. intervention did not have any impacts on children’s development of definitional vocabulary, phonological awareness, print knowledge, or early literacy.

Random assignment was done at the level of the center, and child data were analyzed using HLM to take account of this.


Program curriculum available for purchase at:


Layzer, J. I., Layzer, C. J., Goodson, B. D., & Price, C. (2007). Evaluation of child care subsidy strategies: Findings from Project Upgrade in Miami-Dade County.U.S.Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Washington, DC.

Program categorized in this guide according to the following:

Evaluated participant ages: 4 years / Program age ranges in the Guide: early childhood

Program components: child care/early childhood education; school-based

Measured outcomes: education and cognitive development

KEYWORDS: Academic Achievement, Child Care, Children, Early Childhood Education, Hispanic/Latino, Preschool, manual, Reading, School-based, Urban, co-ed

Program information last updated 2/6/08