Quantitative and qualitative procedures were used in this pilot study to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a language and literacy instruction model for meeting the needs of children with impairments, delays, and differences in regular Head Start classrooms. Although the project addresses a variety of literacy domains, this article focuses on rhyming and letter naming. In the instruction model, children were exposed to motivating examples of rhyme and letter targets in different activity structures embedded across the curriculum. A crossover design compared two classrooms of children trained on letter and rhyme targets in a different order. Results of an analysis of variance revealed a significant Condition (rhyme first vs. letter first) x Task (rhyme generation vs. letter generation) x Time (Posttest 1 vs. Posttest 2) interaction. At the first posttest, children in the rhyme-first condition performed better than those in the letter-first condition on rhyme generation, whereas children in the letter first condition performed better on letter generation. At the second posttest, after the groups had experienced instruction in both areas, the children performed comparably on both tasks. In addition to the quantitative analyses, qualitative analyses were also conducted. A qualitative examination of children's participation revealed their affective involvement and engagement in instructional activities. Changes in the children's awareness of their capacity to rhyme and changes in their displayed abilities to participate in rhyming activities were also documented.
Key Words: early literacy, rhyme instruction, qualitative procedures, phonological awareness, preschool literacy intervention
Submitted on March 26, 2002
Accepted on August 20, 2002