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This research paper is going to discuss the importance of early childhood education; it is going to address the problems that children faces in school that may make them perform poorly in the course of their learning. Several instruments are used to measure the fluency of non-sense word and naming of letters in the kindergarten. The strength of sub-scales' DIBELS of naming letters, fluency of nonsense word and reading were monitored at the same times and linked and this provided an evidence of trajectory of progress of reading. Other studies in this paper are the; growth pattern in letter naming and fluency and how if is affected by different reading curricula, how it is affected by behavioral and academic risks, and how both curriculum difference and risk affected the growth pattern in the fluency of oral reading. Research design used and Limitations are also discussed.
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This research was carried out in five different schools located in an urban setting, teachers were to screen children for both behavioral and academic risks, and they were also to intervene for those children who meet criteria of screening by using district reading initiatives. Teachers also had a responsibility to monitor the progress of the students for over a period of 2 to 3 years. The research showed that all the five schools faced the risks because most of the students came from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. The district assessment showed that students from minority groups had a poor performance in their academics. In the kindergarten, there were up to two teachers which was a good number for effective research on students at risk.
Effective measurement procedures were used to screen all the students who qualified in the kindergarten for academic and behavioral risks. This was done in January of the first academic year and a repeated screening was done in the beginning of October or late September of subsequent years. The ESP modified version was used to carry out screening in the kindergarten where teachers reviewed complete class rosters and students who showed an internalizing or externalizing behavior were nominated and checklists were completed. Maladaptive, adaptive and Critical Events scales were also filled and students with behavioral problems were identified. In the kindergarten, those students whose scores were greater than one on Critical Events, those with less than or equal to twenty one on Adaptive Behavior and those with twenty and above on Maladaptive indices were considered as students at risk of behavior problems.
Mathematical skills were also listed to check on Academic risk, teaches also used the classroom rosters to select students who did not meet the expected grade-level, f or the kindergarten students, those who named less than twenty two letters in a minute were considered to have academic risk. This were also applied in the first and the second grades, and those with less than thirty one letters in a minute in the first grade had academic risk while those who had a score of less than forty on fluency of nonsense word was a sign of academic risk in the second grade.
The research design used was a 'longitudinal grade-cohort design' which was carried out for three years. In the beginning of the study, first cohort had 237 students in kindergarten who were studied for the subsequent 2-3 years in all the five research schools. The second cohort had 146 students who were studied after one year and were studied for two years. Assessment was done twice in the first year, in the second year, it was done four times and in the third year, it was done three times at an interval of two months for sixteen occasions.
Another design used was the DIBELS tests, fluency of nonsense words, letter naming, and oral reading tests were given to students depending on to their grades. In this case rapid letter reciting, blend sounds, and loud reading in a minute timing was used as an indicator of progress of a student who is acquiring early literacy skills. The most appropriate test which was taken as a representative of other skills is the letter naming; this was found appropriate because earlier research showed that there exist a link between reading skills and letter naming.
Data collection methods
The data collection methods used in this research was based on the occasions in the three years of the research period. Data was collected on each occasion of letter naming from the first occasion to the eighth. Occasion five to eight was taken for fluency of nonsense word, and finally for the oral reading, fifth to sixteenth occasions were taken. From all these occasions, 1,869 were fluency of oral reading, 797 were letter naming, and 1,397 were fluency of nonsense word data points.
Data obtained in this research was analyzed using two methods namely; descriptive statistics analysis and hierarchical linear modeling. Descriptive method of analysis entailed the use of means, standard deviations, and cross tabulations to find the magnitude and the frequency of variables used. In this method, the relationships between DIBELS measures were examined by use of Pearson product (r) which gives the moment of correlation. The Hierarchical linear modeling method was based on the research questions which were used in the research that were related to the growth pattern in reading and literacy skills. This method was advantageous due to its ability to represent the growth of an individual student being screened, it also provides data which are flexible and can be used even if there are missing data.
Results and findings
In this research, it was found that, literacy skills in early learning is affected by the school curricula, 'reading mastery' was found to result into good performance. It was also noted that the growth pattern of an individual student over a given period of time is influenced by the reading curriculum of the primary -level. From the risk influence, it was found that when a student has early risk, his or her fluency in reading is affected negatively. Those who had both behavioral and academic risks had a lot of difficulties and does not easily become fluent in reading. In the kindergarten, it was evident that those students with one risk did not perform like other students. This was found to be true according to other research which showed that in poor performers or readers, there is a big difference in levels of engagement and achievement, conduct, background knowledge, first language and how they respond to instructions.
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Although this research was successful there are several limitations. The first limitation is the low number of returned forms from the parents; this limited the number of students who participated in the study. Another limitation is the lack of systematic and procedural measurement of curricula, a report from only one school was obtained that showed that 'reading mastery' was effectively put in place. Implementations measures are required for the purpose of documenting commitment of curriculum and instructional interventions so that causal effects of the outcomes of a student are unambiguously determined. (Baker, Gersten, 2000)
Implication for practice
The outcome from this research does not only apply to the kindergarten students but can be used as a representative of the entire grades. A part from the school environment, the outcomes of this research can be applied in children who have interventions which are multicomponent which improves behavior like social skills, reading, and behavioral consideration. (Walker et al 1998)
The findings in this research are applicable in the kindergarten today and as a kindergarten teacher, I can apply it especially in ensuring that children with either academic, behavioral or both risk factors are identified in their early age so that they can be given the necessary assistance. This will help them to improve and even perfect their reading fluency as they grow up.