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Mission I'm Possible: Effects of a Community-Based Project on the Basic Literacy Skills of At-Risk Kindergarteners

Chong, Wan Har PhD; Moore, Dennis W. PhD; Nonis, Karen P. PhD; Tang, Hui Nee MA, DipEdPsy; Koh, Patricia MA; Wee, Sharon BSc (Psy)

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e3182a60281
Original Research/Study

This study used a nonequivalent group design to evaluate the impact of an emergent literacy intervention on preschool children identified with early reading difficulties. Thirty-five children were compared with 39 typically developing classroom peers on various reading measures in a community-based project—“Mission I'm Possible” (MIP), instigated by a major children's hospital for children with developmental delays. A unique and key feature of MIP is the anchor of a learning support educator to support the child and the teacher in the classroom after completion of a one-on-one pullout literacy intervention conducted over 10 weekly sessions. At pretest, these children lagged behind their peers in most emergent reading tasks. At posttest, they made a mean gain of 11 months across various tasks that involved vocabulary, prereading and reading performances, and written language. No significant differences were found in aspects of their receptive and expressive language. Parents reported significant improvement in their children's prosocial behavior but not in other aspects of social and behavioral functioning. The findings reiterated that of early intervention programs in the West, demonstrating the malleability of young children's learning capacities despite developmental delays. Implications of the findings on the literacy development of such children are discussed.

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Drs Chong and Nonis); Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (Dr Moore); Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore (Mr Tang); PAP Community Foundation, Singapore (Ms Koh); and Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore (Ms Wee). Ms Koh is now at Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore.

Correspondence: Wan Har Chong, PhD, Psychological Studies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Singapore (wanhar.chong@nie.edu.sg).

This research was supported in part by grants from the Lien Foundation and the PAP Community Foundation, Singapore. The authors acknowledge with deep appreciation the contributions of Alisa Bte Mahad, Ebelle Kwek, Shujun Oh, Marilyn Ong, Lai San Shum, Lai Ching Siew, Tamil Selvi Sinniah, Thaahirah Abu Bakar, and Fiona Woo.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.