West Virginia Preschools Selected To Participate In New Language and Literacy Research Program

August 16, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - Three counties in West Virginia were recently selected for a new language and literacy research program that will involve 110 pre-school teachers and more than 1,000 four-year olds. The program, to be conducted in pre-school classrooms in Mercer, Cabell and Kanawha counties, is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the United States Department of Education. It will be carried out by the Massachusetts-based Education Development Center (EDC).  

Researchers plan to test the effectiveness of two EDC-produced professional development approaches, the Literacy Environment Enrichment Program (LEEP), which features traditional face-to-face classes, and the Technology-Enhanced Literacy Environment Enrichment Program (T-LEEP), which offers interactive television and Web-based instruction in addition to face-to-face classes.  

"West Virginia is proud to have been selected for this program," said State Superintendent, Dr. Steven L. Paine. "Giving teachers the knowledge and tools to effectively support language and literacy skill acquisition for our youngest students is vital to improving student learning and achievement”.  

As part of the research, the children's progress will be measured by a variety of standardized tests and teachers will be assessed through classroom observations. Specific instructional practices of teachers in 12 classrooms will be detailed in individual case studies.  

"We are so pleased to be working in West Virginia," said Nancy Clark-Chiarelli, EdD, of EDC's Center for Children & Families, and an expert in young children’s language and literacy development. "The data we gather from teachers and students in these classrooms will be used to improve the quality of teaching and training for early childhood educators across the country," she said.  

For more information on the research project, contact Dr. Cathy Jones, West Virginia Department of Education Early Childhood coordinator, at (304) 558-8098. ###  


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