5 May 2003
Submitted for Publication
Menon, S. & Hiebert, E.H. (April 2003). A Comparison of First Graders’ Reading Acquisition with Little Books and Literature Anthologies. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 22, 2003 in Chicago, IL.
This study examined the effectiveness of a little book curriculum in facilitating the independent reading skills of first-grade readers. The curriculum was based on a theoretical model that identified two critical dimensions of text-based support for beginning readers: linguistic content and cognitive load.
The 15-week little book intervention was conducted in four first-grade classrooms of an inner-city school that was part of a large-city school district. Two of the classes were assigned to the intervention group and the other two classes were assigned to the comparison group. Children in the intervention group read from little books leveled according to features of linguistic content and cognitive load. Children in the comparison group read from basal literature texts. Word lists and graded passages from the Qualitative Reading Inventory (QRI) served as the pre- and post-test measures. ANCOVA and chi-square analyses revealed that children in the intervention classrooms performed at significantly higher levels on the post-tests than their counterparts in the comparison classrooms. These results applied equally to the word-lists and the passage reading tasks. The intervention was effective with children at all reading levels—high, average and low.