Promoting Literacy through Community-Based Research
Constance C. Beecher, Ph.D.
Juniper Gardens Children’s Project
Community-based research is vital for investigating educational issues in order to create evidence based practices in areas such as literacy. Literacy is a life-long skill that is built from a strong foundation of learning in early childhood. Students with (and without) disabilities who fail to develop adequate literacy skills are at greater risk for a host of problems such as lack of motivation, dropping out of school, delinquency, poor employment opportunities, poverty, and even poor health (Baker et al., 2007; Morgan, Frisco, Farkas & Hibel, 2010; Torgesen, 2002). Much is known about how to develop literacy skills, but researchers and educators struggle with implementing research-based practices with fidelity in classrooms. Working in the local community, and partnering with school district personnel, we are testing a coaching intervention aimed at improving literacy focus in early childhood classrooms. Using a wait-listed randomized design, ten classrooms received data-based coaching and 10 act as controls. Preliminary data are indicating that intervention teachers are increasing their literacy focus; children are more engaged in literacy activities than previous to intervention, and these children are making greater progress.
Participants will 1) Consider the difficulties working in community settings 2) See an example of a research project conducted in the community 3) Discuss possible outcomes and impacts from implementing research-based interventions with fidelity in real world settings.