Improving the ability of at-risk children to read and comprehend text has been a high priority in education policy over the last two decades. Low levels of reading achievement have been related to low academic performance. One critical factor in reading achievement is adequate vocabulary knowledge. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds often lack general and academic vocabulary to enable them to acquire knowledge and comprehend text when they learn to read.
A study conducted by REL Southeast has found that the positive impacts of a kindergarten vocabulary intervention (PAVEd for Success (K-PAVE)) were not sustained through first grade.
This follow-up study tracked students who were part of the 2010 study’s sample of kindergarten children from the Mississippi Delta to determine whether there were sustained effects on student vocabulary and early reading skills one year later when students were in first grade. The first grade teachers had not participated in the original study and were not using the K-PAVE intervention in their classrooms. The follow-up study found no statistically significant impacts of K-PAVE at the end of first grade on any of three outcomes examined—expressive vocabulary, academic knowledge, and passage comprehension.
The follow-up study also explored whether the kindergarten impacts of K-PAVE varied by student characteristics, such as achievement at the beginning of kindergarten, or the characteristics of schools the students attended. There was a positive and statistically significant impact of K-PAVE on academic knowledge in schools that were not receiving Reading First funding relative to schools with Reading First funding, but there were no other statistically significant differences in kindergarten impacts between subgroups of students or schools.