Can a Blended Learning Model of Reading Instruction Support the Development of ELL Students’ Reading Skills in Kindergarten?

Can a Blended Learning Model of Reading Instruction Support the Development of ELL Students’ Reading Skills in Kindergarten?

First Author: Liz Crawford-Brooke -- Lexia Learning (Rosetta Stone)
Additional authors/chairs: 
Elizabeth Kazakoff; Paul Macaruso; Jen Elise Prescott
Keywords: English Language Learners (ELL), Blended Learning, Computer-Assisted, Elementary
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose:
To study the effects of a blended learning model, Lexia Reading Core5 (Core5), on reading skills for English Language Learners (ELL) compared to non-ELL students, two samples were analyzed: (1) 1st graders with Core5 use in spring of the kindergarten year and (2) kindergartners with a full school year of Core5 use.

Method:
This study used a quasi-experimental design comparing ELL and non-ELL students. All participants attended an elementary school in Massachusetts. The majority of ELL students (>80%) were native speakers of Haitian-Creole. Students used Core5, a blended learning model combining an adaptive online program and offline materials (lessons, skill builders) for teacher-led instruction.

The Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE) was used as a standardized assessment of reading skills. GRADE was given in fall 2014 to 22 ELL and 92 non-ELL 1st graders, most of whom (ELL: 92%; non-ELL: 65%) used Core5 during kindergarten in spring 2014. In addition, pretest and posttest GRADE scores were analyzed for kindergartners (ELL: 18; non-ELL: 68) who used Core5 in the 2014-2015 school year.

Results:
1. Both ELL and non-ELL 1st graders who had an opportunity to use Core5 in spring of the kindergarten year began the fall with mean GRADE standard scores in the average range (ELL: 97; non-ELL: 98) which did not differ significantly.

2. For kindergartners who used Core5 for a full school year, ELL students scored significantly below non-ELL students at pretest (ELL mean: 80; non-ELL mean: 93). At posttest, both groups made significant progress (ELL mean: 100; non-ELL mean: 108) with ELL students closing the reading gap on subtests assessing phonological awareness, early literacy, and phonics skills.

Conclusion:
The use of a blended learning model may support ELL kindergarteners in closing the reading gap.