Predicting Pathways to Literacy in Tennessee through Early Identification and Preventive Intervention

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Ables, Cynthia Dianne
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Middle Tennessee State University
Prior research confirms that students who struggle early with reading will rarely catch up without additional support and direct intensive intervention. These results accrue dramatically over time. It takes four times as long to intervene with a fourth-grade student as it does with a student in late kindergarten (Lyon & Fletcher, 2001). Preventive intervention, based on the predictors from the end of kindergarten, would mean that reading difficulties should not become an obstacle to class participation in reading and in all content areas. This quantitative study seeks to determine which subtest of the universal screener at the end of kindergarten are the optimal combination of predictive skills for reading fluency in third grade. The sample for the study consisted of 616 sets of extant student data from two districts. Data consisted of archived student scores from a common universal screener. Student foundational literacy skills were measured at the end of kindergarten using the Letter Naming Fluency, Letter Sound Fluency, and Phoneme Segmentation. The Oral Reading Fluency subtest was used to measure reading achievement in third grade. This study examined how foundational literacy skills interacted with the variable of fluency. This study addressed two research questions: Research Question 1: Which single subtests of the universal screener: Letter Naming, Letter Sound, or Phoneme Segmentation best predict later reading fluency on the 3rd grade Oral Reading Fluency subtest. Research Question 2: Which combination of subtests of the universal screener best predict later reading fluency on the 3rd grade Oral Reading Fluency subtest. This study seeks to determine the strongest predictors from current universal screening data of kindergarten students. Knowing the areas that most closely indicate later reading fluency would support educator’s understanding of which components are essential to later reading achievement and encourage educators to utilize early identification and preventive interventions.
Reading instruction, Early childhood education