A study in Mississippi has found that a good kindergarten literacy program can boost disadvantaged pupils’ vocabulary in kindergarten by as much as an extra month of school.
The federal Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast, housed at the SERVE Center of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, evaluated a program known as Kindergarten PAVEd for Success. Each teacher gets a list of thematically related and complex words, such as “steam” and “boil,” which are incorporated into stories and classroom discussions.
For the study, researchers tracked nearly 1,300 kindergartners in 30 Mississippi Delta school districts, and 128 kindergarten classes were randomly assigned to either use the program or teach literacy as they normally would. By the end of kindergarten, children in the program tested one month ahead of control-group peers in vocabulary development and academic knowledge.