Program

Oct 26, 2007

OVERVIEW

The Doors to Discovery is designed to enhance
early literacy development with a focus on vocabulary development and
receptive/expressive language development. An experimental evaluation of the
program in which sites were randomly assigned, found that it improved children’s
auditory comprehension, vocabulary, phonological awareness, letter and word
identification, and sound awareness/rhyming.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
Children with normal development attending
pre-kindergarten programs

Doors to Discovery
is designed for pre-kindergarten classrooms. Teachers are extensively trained
in the program and are given a variety of interactive and printed materials.
Program curriculum consists of lessons that focus on building letter knowledge,
phonological awareness, language and motivation to read, development of
vocabulary, and receptive and expressive language development.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Assel, M. A.,
Landry, S. H., Swank, P. R., & Gunnewig, S. (2007). An evaluation of
curriculum, setting, and mentoring on the performance of children enrolled in
pre-kindergarten. Reading and Writing, 20, 463-494.

Evaluated population:
603 pre-kindergarten children who were
enrolled in three types of full day programs, Title 1, Universal Pre-K, and Head
Start. Children were 4 years of age at the start of the evaluation and 51%
male. Two-hundred forty-five children were in Head Start programs, 213 were in
Title 1 programs, and 145 were in Universal Pre-K programs. The program types
had quite different breakdowns in racial composition such that the Head Start
programs were composed primarily of African-America and Hispanic children, Title
1 programs were composed primarily of Hispanic and Caucasian children, and the
Universal Pre-K programs were composed primarily of Caucasian children.
Overall, the sample was 21% African-American, 42% Hispanic, 29% Caucasian, and
8% other ethnicity.

Approach:
Schools were recruited from a school district in Houston, Texas. The schools
were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Let’s Begin with the Letter
People, Doors to Discovery, or a control condition. Schools that were assigned
to receive a treatment program were then randomly assigned to either an
additional mentoring program for teachers or no mentoring program. Both of the
programs have a similar curriculum of building letter knowledge, phonological
awareness, and language and motivation to read. Both also had similar
structure; they used activity books, small group activities, and language
building activities. The programs differ in that the Doors to Discovery program
focuses more on vocabulary and language comprehension. The control group did
not have any specific program but was provided with normal materials that were
purchased by the state. The programs occurred over the course of the
pre-kindergarten school year and children were assessed only at pretest and
posttest. Children were assessed based on their auditory comprehension,
vocabulary, phonological awareness, letter and word identification, and sound
awareness.

Results:
Children in the Doors to Discovery program had greater auditory comprehension
gains than children in the control group. There was more growth in language
comprehension in Head Start classes when compared with Title 1 and Universal
Pre-K classes. The program had no impact on language comprehension in Title 1
and Universal Pre-K classes. There were also greater increases in language
skills in the Doors to Discovery program compared with the Let’s Begin with the
Letter People classrooms. Children in both treatment programs had larger
improvements in vocabulary than children in the control group. Again, those in
the Head Start classrooms improved more than Universal and Title 1 classrooms.

Children in both
treatment programs also had greater improvement than those in the control
condition on letter and word identification. This impact was especially strong
in Head Start classrooms. The Let’s Begin program outperformed the Doors to
Discovery program when the teacher-mentoring component was added but the Doors
to Discovery program had a greater impact than the Let’s Begin program when
mentoring was absent. Children in treatment classrooms experienced greater
growth in rhyming skills compared with those in the control condition. In
Universal Pre-K classrooms, children who received the Let’s Begin program
experienced greater growth in rhyming skills compared with the Doors to
Discovery program. Children in Head Start classrooms receiving either of the
interventions had larger improvements in phonological awareness than their
counterparts in the control condition.

Across most
findings, the researchers noted that the Doors to Discovery program seemed to
work with or without the additional mentoring program; and in some cases
functioned better without mentoring. The Let’s Begin with the Letter people
program was enhanced by the mentoring program and students whose teachers did
not receive the mentoring program did not improve as much as those whose
teachers were mentored.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Program
curriculum and supplies are available for purchase at:

https://www.mheonline.com/program/view/5/7/407/0076036243/

References

Assel, M. A.,
Landry, S. H., Swank, P. R., & Gunnewig, S. (2007). An evaluation of
curriculum, setting, and mentoring on the performance of children enrolled in
pre-kindergarten. Reading and Writing, 20, 463-494.

Program
categorized in this guide according to the following:

Evaluated
participant ages: pre-kindergarten / Program age ranges in the Guide: early
childhood

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

Measured outcomes:
education and cognitive development

KEYWORDS: Children, Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, Co-ed, Preschool, School-based, Kindergarten, Early Childhood Education, Child Care, Mentoring, Reading/Literacy

Program
information last updated 10/26/07

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