Promoting Early Literacy Through the Professional Development of Preschool Teachers

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a professional learning program on the emergent literacy skills of preschool children. Building Blocks for Literacy® is a program consisting of training supported by mentoring designed to teach early childcare providers how to promote the development of early literacy skills. A previous investigation found positive effects of the program on the pre-literacy skills of children in Vermont. The current study extended their work by replicating the training for Head Start teachers (n  = 27) in another state. Teachers were divided into three groups. One group received the training and live mentoring; a second group received training and distance mentoring; and a third group of teachers served as controls. The results indicate that children (n = 97) served by teachers who received the training (n = 18) made higher gains on a measure of early literacy skills than those children (n  = 36) served by control teachers. The gains made by children in the treatment groups were consistent for teachers who received either live or distance mentoring. Implications for practice are discussed.