Applying Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to Enhance the Alphabet Knowledge Skills of At-Risk Preschoolers

Applying Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to Enhance the Alphabet Knowledge Skills of At-Risk Preschoolers

First Author: Xigrid Soto -- University of Kansas
Additional authors/chairs: 
Lauren McKeever ; Trina Spencer ; Howard Goldstein
Keywords: prevention of reading disabilities, Early Literacy, early childhood (age 4 - 6), Multi-tier intervention, Emergent literacy
Abstract / Summary: 

Alphabet knowledge (AK) is one of the strongest predictors of future reading skill. Preschoolers entering Kindergarten with reduced AK skills are likely to become struggling readers. Providing these preschoolers lagging behind their peers with early, evidenced-based intervention can promote their academic success and prevent future difficulties. Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) is an educational framework to prevent academic failure in at-risk children through individualized instruction and data-based decision making. Research evaluating the effects of applying MTSS to enhance the AK skills of at-risk preschoolers is sorely lacking. Although AK is often a target of preschool curricula, there is limited empirical research evaluating how to effectively teach this skill to struggling learners. This study will evaluate the effects of a Tier 3 AK intervention for preschoolers using a multiple baseline design across participants, counterbalanced across letters. All children (approximately 40) with parental consent in two classrooms will be screened. From these children consented, eight children with reduced AK skills will receive an intensive sound identification intervention using explicit instruction, contingent feedback, and multiple response opportunities. Researchers will deliver individual sessions that are 15 minutes each, 3-4 times a week, for 4-6 weeks. Children’s AK skills will be assessed weekly using curriculum-based measures, and before and after the intervention using standardized measures. Visual analyses, effect size estimates, and pre-posttest comparisons will determine treatment effects. The findings from this study will potentially provide early childhood educators with an evidenced-based intervention that applies the principles of MTSS to promote preschoolers’ school readiness.