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The findings of MacDonald and Figueredo (2010) in their journal article: Closing the Gap Early: Implementing a Literacy Intervention for At-Risk Kindergartners in Urban Schools shall be presented in this paper.
Previous research on the development of writing and reading skills indicated that student who demonstrated difficulties in oral languages had higher chances of finding challenges in reading. This generated the need to document literacy programs focused on the improvement of literacy achievement of students.
Major Issues Addressed by the Authors
Driven by a history of poverty and poor academic achievement, this article sought to examine the “impact of a kindergarten-tutoring program on the oral-language and emergent literacy skills of children in kindergarten school year for 51 children in the treatment compared to 45 children in a bilingual kindergarten in central Canada” (MacDonald and Figueredo, 2010, p. 405).
The participants for the Kindergarten Early Literacy Tutoring (KELT) program were selected based on risk in literacy skill development. On the other hand, the comparison group of the remaining students who were not part of the priority group.
By integrating the impact of poverty in academic performance, the authors sought to dissect a topic that has attracted the interests of psychologists as well as educational policy makers.
This is because of the need to gain insights into characteristics of poor and high performance is an attempt to derive understanding on factors that drive performance. The authors of this study have provided insightful contribution and reinforced literature on child development and early education.
Through an intervention program that consisted of “extra half-day of instruction 5 days a week in addition to the Ministry-mandated half-day kindergarten program,” (MacDonald and Figueredo, 2010, p. 414), the authors arrived at an interesting conclusion.
The study found out that students enrolled in the program performed better than the comparison group in most assessments undertaken. The major implication of the study was that effective intervention programs have the capacity to close the gaps in early educational literacy.
First, the authors have examined a topic that is not only of interest to educational policy makers, but is also relevant responding to important questions concerning instructional methods in early education.
The methodology adopted is appropriate for the research because it provides one of the best methods in examining research questions in pedagogy. Furthermore, the authors draw relevant literatures in supporting their assertions and arguments. The citations provided are relevant and follow defined and accepted formats.
The strongest part of the article is the discussion section that is informative, detailed comprehensive and focuses on achieving the objectives of the paper. The authors presented critical examinations of the relationship between gender and ESL, the importance of early intervention and instructional time, and a comparative analysis of the two groups based on the results of the assessments.
These constitute important elements in responding to the research questions behind this study. The conclusion and future research provided are succinct and makes a reader understand the need gain further insights into child development and early education. However, a number of weaknesses encompass the article. First, the study should have made use of a larger sample under different learning environments.
This would have provided a better and broader basis of comparative analysis. Second, a criterion could have been developed in selecting members of the comparison group. Nonetheless, the article presents insightful and interesting analysis of effective methods of closing the gap in early education.
MacDonald, C., and Figueredo, L. (2010). Closing the Gap Early: Implementing a Literacy Intervention for At-Risk Kindergartners in Urban Schools. The Reading Teacher, 63(5): 404–419.