Early language and literacy skill delays are largely due to family economic disadvantages that to fully address would require broad-based policies to reduce poverty. Still, access to high-quality pre-K is increasingly recognized as a potential lever for preparing children disadvantaged by poverty to achieve developmentally-appropriate reading milestones as they age. Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) aims to support the quality of pre-K environments and prepare children disadvantaged by poverty through its Blueprint for Early Literacy pre-K curriculum supplement teamed with workshops and individual coaching for pre-K educators.
Research for Action (RFA) conducted a three-year external evaluation of this program from 2017-2019. In this study, we employed a quasi-experimental research design and mixed methods to understand CLI’s impact on teachers’ knowledge and ability to implement best practices for instructing language and literacy, classroom language and literacy environments, and children’s engagement and skills in language and literacy. Positive impacts despite higher-than-typical teacher turnover, along with teacher and center director descriptions of ease of use, suggest that CLI’s early language and literacy supports are particularly well-suited for improving quality and outcomes in high-need pre-K environments.