The Early Literacy and Learning Model (ELLM) was initially developed and evaluated as a supplemental literacy curriculum and instructional support system. The model provided the foundation for the ELLM/Plus curriculum, which is a literacy-focused, comprehensive curriculum designed to help young children from low-income families enter kindergarten ready to read and to learn. Eleven monthly theme-based instructional packets, high-quality children’s books, and a host of support materials provide teachers the resources they need to focus instruction, plan and implement activities, monitor and support children’s progress, and address the needs of a culturally diverse classroom. ELLM/Plus strengthens the home/school connection through a variety of activities designed for families to do together at home or in the community.
The literacy component of the ELLM/Plus curriculum has been evaluated in two overlapping randomized studies as part of the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research Study (PCER). The first study took place in 48 Florida preschool classes (subsidized, faith-based, Head Start, and schools) randomly assigned to ELLM or control. On the Test of Early Reading Abilities (TERA-3), positive outcomes were found on four scales (average effect size =+0.26). All outcomes were statistically significant. The second study took place one year later in 28 of these classrooms, and found a positive but not significant difference of +0.12 across TERA-3, Woodcock, PPVT and TOLD tests. Across the two studies, the average effect size was +0.21 for pre-k. Both studies involved a kindergarten follow-up, which in the first study found significant positive effects on the TERA-3 Reading Quotient and the Alphabet scales and in the second study significant positive effects on the PPVT (effect size=+0.34) and TOLD (effect size=+0.44). Overall, these findings qualify ELLM for the ESSA “Strong” category.
No additional staff required.
The ELLM instructional support system involves two programs; one that supports the development of teachers and one that supports the development of coaches who work with the teachers. This component is designed to build capacity and effectiveness of both teachers and coaches.
Professional development for teachers begins with a two-day intensive training session highlighting the content and strategies teachers are expected to know and be able to do when implementing the ELLM/Plus curriculum with fidelity. During this training teachers learn the components that make up ELLM, review the research supporting each component, and participate in demonstrations. After school begins, teachers receive weekly follow-up training and support from a literacy coach who demonstrates, observes, provides feedback, and answers implementation questions in one-hour weekly visits. Teachers receive learning materials and strategies designed to help them focus instruction on children’s emergent literacy skills and increase children’s literacy experiences. Teacher networking activities provide opportunities for teachers to continue to develop knowledge and skills through information sharing and problem solving. Monthly site-based literacy team meetings and quarterly regional teacher gatherings support reflection and new learning.
Coach Training (FIE Strategic Coaching Model)
Professional development for the literacy coaches begins with an intensive five-day summer institute designed to develop knowledge of literacy as well as coaching skills and strategies with the guidance of ELLM consultants. Weekly coaching seminars build on the summer institute and further develop coaching expertise. In these seminars the coaches share successes and concerns, become more familiar with literacy research, and identify and seek to solve barriers to implementation. ELLM consultants provide individual technical assistance to coaches in implementing and assessing the effectiveness of site-based activities. Consultants visit sites, observe coaches, provide support, assist in solving implementation problems, and
The ELLM coaching cycle addresses effective teaching skills and behaviors for each of the literacy components. The cycle begins with the coach modeling a lesson and ends with the teacher assimilating critical behaviors into daily practice. Each cycle is designed to increase the effectiveness of teacher instruction. During the first phase of the cycle, the coach models the lesson, demonstrating desired instructional behaviors as the teacher observes and conducts a written analysis of the critical behaviors taught during the lesson. A feedback and reflection conference follows the lesson to determine the effectiveness of the lesson and answer three questions: What worked? What needs to be added? What needs to be extended? In the next cycle, the teacher implements the lesson and the coach observes the teacher and conducts a written analysis of the critical behaviors of the teacher’s instruction. A feedback and reflection conference follows. The coach and teacher assess the effectiveness of the lesson and plan for the next coaching cycle, which may be conducted by the coach or the teacher. Critical behaviors taught during the lesson are specified in advance and analyzed during delivery. This analysis is the focus of the feedback and reflection conference. As additional help is needed, additional support is provided through abbreviated coaching sessions, teacher observations, or instructional materials.
There are no technology requirements for ELLM/Plus. However, monthly Family Tips and weekly Take-Home Bracelets are found on the internet at no cost in both English and Spanish.