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From Rogersville to Memphis: The Journey of the TN SIG Preschool Literacy Training Project. Alissa Ongie, M.Ed. TN SIG Pre-K Project Coordinator East Tennessee State University. What Is the PLTP?.

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From Rogersville to Memphis: The Journey of the TN SIG Preschool Literacy Training Project

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From Rogersville to Memphis: The Journey of the TN SIG Preschool Literacy Training Project

Alissa Ongie, M.Ed.

TN SIG Pre-K Project Coordinator

East Tennessee State University


What Is the PLTP?

  • Part of the Tennessee State Improvement Grant – a federal grant through OSEP that wraps around Reading First services

  • The PLTP has worked with preschools across Tennessee

  • The PLTP has provided professional development to preschool teachers, parent workshops for families, and products available for free on the TN SIG website: Sig.cls.utk.edu

  • The TN SIG is currently in a no-cost extension period with limited funding, and will end on 6/30/2010


Professional Development

  • Training opportunities have been provided to TN SIG participating preschools in Rogersville, Knoxville, Claiborne County, Woodbury, Nashville/Davidson County, Somerville, Wayne County, and Memphis

  • Topics covered in professional development include preschool literacy in the classroom and at home, infant/toddler literacy, and working with children with Autism


How Was PD Delivered?

  • Workshops held at TN SIG preschools on topics requested by individual preschools

  • ETSU Early Childhood Summer Conference – when funding was available, TN SIG preschool staff were invited to attend 3 days of conference activities with registration and all travel costs paid for by the PLTP

  • ELLCO Quasi-experimental Design


ELLCO Experiment

  • We chose 10 TN SIG preschools and 10 control preschools with similar qualities (same type of program, same geographical region, etc.)

  • We used the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) to do a pre- and post-assessment on intervention and control preschools

  • Intervention preschools received feedback on their ELLCO scores and PD in the areas in which they scored the lowest on the initial ELLCO

  • Control preschools received no feedback or PD


ELLCO Experiment continued

  • ELLCO PD Trainings covered the following areas:

    • Organization of the Classroom

    • Contents of the Classroom

    • Presence and Use of Technology

    • Opportunities for Child Choice and Initiative

    • Classroom Management Strategies

    • Classroom Climate

    • Oral Language Facilitation

    • Presence of Books

    • Approaches to Book Reading

    • Approaches to Children’s Writing

    • Approaches to Curriculum Integration

    • Recognizing Diversity in the Classroom

    • Facilitating Home Support for Literacy

    • Approaches to Assessment


ELLCO Experiment Continued

  • After a year of ELLCO-related PD, the post-assessment was completed

  • Overall, intervention preschools improved their scores on ELLCO items more than control preschools

  • The average post-score on the classroom observation portion of the ELLCO for intervention preschools was 4.1 points (5-point scale) compared to 3 points for control preschools

  • The average increase on the literacy activities rating scale was .7 points (13 points max available) for intervention preschools compared to -1.9 for control preschools


How PD Is Impacting Participants’ Literacy Instruction in the Classroom

  • “I used what she showed us and used that to take what I was doing in a different direction. Made it two-fold. For example, KWL and flip chart for reading and phonics.”

  • “Teaching them to spell their name, using letters in different ways such as the Frog Street Press using rhyme and song to get children interested in learning to read.”

  • “Like when they are playing with food and they'll show me a piece of food and I'll say ‘what kind of food is this? What letter does it start with?’”


How PD Is Affecting Preschoolers’ Learning

  • “It has improved their knowledge on knowing their letters. Also it has helped teach parents the importance of reading to their children at home.”

  • “Children are more aware of the letters, recognition; a big portion of the children can print their names, recognize and print letters; when they are doing artwork they are more aware of what they are drawing - you can really see what they are drawing.”

  • “They are recognizing the alphabet more quickly, they want to listen more and are more focused. I have seen improvement in their learning.”


Participants’ Overall Feelings about PD Received through theTN SIG PLTP

  • “I think this is wonderful and I don't think there is a comparison to anything I've seen in the other school systems in terms of the early child professional development.”

  • “It has a lot of components like special education that we did not have with previous PD.”


Parent Workshops

  • We worked with participating TN SIG Preschools to schedule family nights with a focus on literacy

  • These workshops were available to families within the community

  • Preschools chose one of two workshops:

    • Family Reading – provides tips for reading aloud with preschoolers

    • Early Writing Experiences – provides ideas to include writing activities in the home


Parent Workshops continued

  • Preschool Literacy Toolkit:

    • At the parent workshops, each family received a toolkit with items to help them include literacy in the home

    • These toolkits are designed to follow developmentally appropriate pre-literacy guidelines


Parent Workshops continued

  • Toolkit Contents:

    • Family Reading Parent Flyer

    • Early Writing Experiences Parent Flyer

    • Spiral Notebook

    • Construction Paper

    • Little Sketch Book

    • Alphabet Pasting Pieces – many fonts

    • Glue Stick

    • Quality Children’s Book

    • Magic Markers

    • Wikki Stix

    • Pencil Sharpener

    • #2 Pencils

    • Chubby Primary Pencils


Parent Workshops continued

  • Parent workshops have been offered in Madison, Nashville, Woodbury, and system-wide in Wayne County (over 200 preschoolers at 3 pre-K programs)

  • In 2007 and 2008, a total of 692 Preschool Literacy Toolkits were provided to families, early childhood education students, and Head Start teachers


Products Available on TN SIG Website

  • Materials used with preschool teachers and families are downloadable at no cost from the TN SIG website

  • Sig.cls.utk.edu under Preschool Products section

  • Parent brochures are also available in Spanish


Success Stories

  • At a TN SIG preschool in Memphis, a licensing evaluator told the director that she had never seen more organized literacy instruction and that she would be using this center as an example for others

  • At a TN SIG preschool in Jackson, the classroom that participated in the ELLCO Experiment later received a 6.09 out of 7 on the Tennessee Star Quality Assessment

  • At a TN SIG preschool in Wayne County, the day after a tornado caused significant damage to the area, most families still attended our parent workshops held at the three pre-K sites


Contact Information

  • If you have any questions about how to use the preschool products on our website, please contact me:

    Alissa Ongie

    Pre-K Project Coordinator

    TN SIG Preschool Literacy Training Project

    P.O. Box 70434

    Johnson City, TN 37614

    423-439-7841

    [email protected]


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