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ERIC Number: ED477480
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
English Literacy Levels of the Early Care and Education Workforce: A Profile and Associations with Quality of Care. Who Leaves? Who Stays? A Longitudinal Study of the Early Care and Education Workforce in Alameda County, California.
Phillips, Deborah; Crowell, Nancy; Whitebook, Marcy; Bellm, Dan
Research on parents has shown the critical contribution that linguistic input plays in fostering early literacy, but there have been no systematic studies of the literacy of the early care and education workforce and its role in fostering quality early learning environments. This report examines the literacy levels of early childhood educators in Alameda County, California, providing initial evidence bearing on the important but missing link between adult English literacy skills and children's literacy environments. Subjects were 98 teachers and providers including teachers in Head Start, public preschools and child care programs as well as licensed family child care providers; 31% did not speak English as their native languagealthough all used English in their child care settings. Subjects completed the document literacy scale from the Tests of Applied Literacy Skills (TALS). Three major findings emerged. First, the English literacy skills reflected in the sample ranged from "highly proficient" to "extremely limited". The average score of 296 is higher than the national average of 167, but nearly one-third scored within the "limited proficiency" range. Second, the English literacy levels of child care teachers and providers are significantly associated with the language interactions, literacy environments and quality of caregiving they offer to young children; nevertheless, nearly half of the teachers and providers with minimal to poor English literacy skills worked in settings that provided young children with rich early language environments. Third, the English literacy levels of child care teachers and providers, as with other sectors of the work force, are significantly associated with their linguistic, ethnic, and educational background, and with their wages. It appears that working in a center accentuates the link between the English literacy skills of any given teacher and the quality of children's overall literacy environment. When the quality of adult-child interactions specific to the teacher or provider was the focus of observation, the researchers were unable to identify the factors that enable adults with relatively poor English literacy skills to offer high-quality early education. Findings pose implications for teacher/provider training and for future research. (Contains 32 references.) (HTH)
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, Inst. of Industrial Relations, University of California at Berkeley, 2521 Channing Way, #5555, Berkeley, CA 94720-5555. Tel: 510-643-7091; Fax: 510-642-6432; Web site: For full text:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (DHHS), Washington, DC. Child Care Bureau.; A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, Inc.; Foundation for Child Development, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: N/A