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ERIC Number: ED504224
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 260
Abstractor: ERIC
Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel. A Scientific Synthesis of Early Literacy Development and Implications for Intervention
National Institute for Literacy
The National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) was appointed in 2002 and carried out its work under the auspices of the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL). NELP's primary goal was to identify interventions, parenting activities, and instructional practices that promote the development of children's early literacy skills. The National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) funded the panel's work in consultation with the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the U.S. Department of Education, and the Office of Head Start in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This Panel report represents a systematic synthesis of the published research literature concerning children's early literacy skills. It provides educators and policymakers with information about early skills that are implicated in later literacy learning, and information about the type of instruction that can enhance these skills. The results also identify areas in which additional research is needed. The meta-analyses conducted by the panel showed that a wide range of interventions had a positive impact on children's early literacy learning. However, it is felt these positive results were due to the nature and intensity of the instructional activities examined in the studies, many of which differ from those typically seen in early childhood classrooms. These interventions were usually delivered as one-on-one or small-group activities, they occurred frequently, and they were adult-directed by researchers or their agents. Few interpretable studies evaluated the effects of merely providing a literacy-rich or language-rich classroom environment. The report calls for additional translational research, and examinations of typical implementations of such programs within early childhood education. Problems were also identified with the quality of much of the currently-available research. Many studies used simple pretest-posttest designs, which provide no causally interpretable evidence, and studies often did not provide evidence that these groups were equivalent prior to an intervention or represented the same population. The panel felt unable to rely on the data drawn from such studies, and excluded such from all of the analyses reported. Building a larger and more comprehensive knowledge base concerning early literacy skill development and promotion will require more high-quality research. Seven chapters are included: (1) Methodology of the National Early Literacy Panel; (2) Identification of Children's Skills and Abilities Linked to Later Outcomes in Reading, Writing, and Spelling; (3) Impact of Code-Focused Interventions on Young Children's Early Literacy Skills; (4) Impact of Shared-Reading Interventions on Young Children's Early Literacy Skills; (5) Impact of Parent and Home Programs on Young Children's Early Literacy Skills; (6) Impact of Preschool and Kindergarten Programs on Young Children's Early Literacy Skills; and (7) Impact of Language Enhancement Interventions on Young Children's Early Literacy Skills. Appendixes, footnotes, tables, and references are included and designated by individual chapter.
National Institute for Literacy. 1775 I Street NW Suite 730, Washington, DC 20006-2401. Tel: 800-228-8813; Tel: 202-233-2025; Fax: 301-470-1244; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education; Kindergarten
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Health and Human Services
Authoring Institution: National Institute for Literacy; National Center for Family Literacy
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
IES Cited: ED512029; ED545225