SLPs Receive $4 Million Reading Grant The three-year grant will fund the Wisconsin Reading Acquisition Program (WRAP), a collaboration between Marquette University and the Day Care Services for Children, Inc. (DCSC) Head Start Program. The project will serve 300 at-risk, low-income children annually who are from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds—50% Latino, 48% African American, and ... School Matters
Free
School Matters  |   October 01, 2008
SLPs Receive $4 Million Reading Grant
Author Notes
  • Susan Boswell, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mailto:sboswell@asha.org..
    Susan Boswell, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mailto:sboswell@asha.org..×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Normal Language Processing / School Matters
School Matters   |   October 01, 2008
SLPs Receive $4 Million Reading Grant
The ASHA Leader, October 2008, Vol. 13, 1-8. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.13142008.1
The ASHA Leader, October 2008, Vol. 13, 1-8. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.13142008.1
The three-year grant will fund the Wisconsin Reading Acquisition Program (WRAP), a collaboration between Marquette University and the Day Care Services for Children, Inc. (DCSC) Head Start Program. The project will serve 300 at-risk, low-income children annually who are from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds—50% Latino, 48% African American, and 2% Caucasian, with a high percentage of English-language learners (ELLs).
Project director Maura Moyle and colleagues Brenda Gorman and Sue Berman from Marquette’s Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology will use the grant to expand several smaller programs and to combine an interest in early language and literacy with bilingual and multicultural service delivery.
Berman, a clinical instructor, started a treatment group at Marquette in 2003 emphasizing early literacy for preschoolers with speech and language needs. She later joined with Moyle, an assistant professor, to develop a language and literacy program, offered in 2005–2007, for African American preschoolers. When Gorman, an assistant professor, joined the faculty in 2006, she developed an intensive phonological awareness program for bilingual preschoolers, and the following year, the three SLPs collaborated to offer a language and literacy program for bilingual preschoolers. At the same time they researched outcomes of a teacher training program focused on early language and literacy.
Because each of these programs involved a relatively small number of children, the three colleagues decided to pursue an ERF grant to continue the research efforts on a larger scale. Their program was the only SLP-directed program to receive a 2008 ERF grant.
The Project
WRAP’s goals are to improve children’s oral language, phonological awareness, written language awareness, alphabet knowledge, background knowledge, verbal reasoning abilities, and analytical thinking skills. At Day Care Services for Children, 15 Head Start classrooms will implement a scientifically grounded language- and literacy-based preschool program. Standardized and criterion-referenced assessments will be used to identify students with significant language and literacy needs and to inform instruction. A tiered, response-to-intervention (RTI) approach will be used to identify children who need more intensive, individualized instruction.
Role of SLPs
“SLPs are experts in individualizing instruction and language and literacy,” Moyle said. She will manage the provision of scientifically based instruction and reading readiness, summer programming, professional development, and children’s progress in kindergarten.
Gorman will manage the implementation of RTI and services to students who are English language learners, as well as assessment and monitoring, and training for families in language and literacy. She also will supervise bilingual clinicians enrolled in Marquette’s Bilingual English-Spanish certificate program. Berman will serve full-time as project coordinator to assist with additional project components such as planning an annual conference and family training workshops, setting up family literacy resource centers at Head Start sites, providing educational technology training, and supervising graduate clinicians.
The three SLPs also will provide professional development workshops and train literacy coaches who will provide ongoing support to classroom teachers. A full-time bilingual SLP will provide teacher support and assist with assessment and intervention. In addition approximately 20 speech-language pathology graduate and undergraduate students will assist with assessment and intervention each year.
Application Process
The ERF grant proposal involved extensive preparation and grant writing. The first step was to prepare the preliminary proposal. After submitting the application, Moyle received an invitation to submit a full proposal for review by a peer review panel. The full application involves a detailed description of the project design, personnel, resources, management plan, project evaluation methods, and budget. The initial deadline for the full application was extended from April to June 2008, allowing Moyle and Gorman to work full-time on the application after the spring semester ended. Berman and Marquette University’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs assisted with budget preparation.
The grant preparation also involved frequent communication with the DCSC. “A project of this magnitude requires a strong alliance with the partnering agency,” Gorman said. “DCSC’s support and participation in project planning, as well as its information about students, staff, and budget requirements were invaluable. They also reorganized staff to help meet personnel needs.”
The SLPs also received assistance from the publisher of the curriculum they had chosen to implement, which provided ERF application packets as resources as well as feedback on the grant application.
“This project will investigate the connections between language and literacy development as well as evidence-based instructional programming and parent training,” Berman said. “As the project gets underway this fall, the real work begins.”
Brenda K. Gorman, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor at Marquette University. Contact her at brenda.gorman@marquette.edu. Maura Jones Moyle, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor at Marquette. Contact her at maura.moyle@marquette.edu. S. Sue Berman, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinical instructor at Marquette. Contact her at sue.berman@marquette.edu. They contributed to the preparation of this article.
Tips for ERF Grant Applicants
  • Start the project planning process early

  • Investigate other successful ERF projects—visit the ASHA Web site and search “Early Reading First”

  • Develop a strong alliance with the partnering preschool program/agency and obtain information on the partner’s resources, demographics, and staff

  • Determine needs for transforming the partner program into a center of excellence

  • Investigate and select an evidence-based curriculum

  • Plan methods for assessment and monitoring

  • Plan intensive and ongoing professional development

  • Coordinate reading readiness efforts with the local education agency

  • Plan internal and external methods of evaluation

  • Seek broad feedback on your application

U.S. Dept. of Education Awards 31 Early Reading First Grants

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded 31 multi-year grants under the fiscal year 2008 Early Reading First (ERF) program, a competitive grant initiative designed to support local efforts to enhance the oral language, cognitive, and early reading skills of preschool children in areas of high poverty or high numbers of students not reading at grade level.

Each program will use strategies and materials grounded in scientifically based reading research and will provide professional development. Congress appropriated $112.5 million for the FY 2008 ERF program.

To select grant recipients, ED uses a two-phase selection process that includes a pre-application and a full application. All applicants must submit a pre-application that briefly addresses certain key concepts. Applicants invited to submit full applications must respond to more specific selection criteria. In accordance with the ERF statute, peer review panels are convened that include three experts in early reading development and early childhood development.

For abstracts of project grantees [PDF], go to the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site. For more information, contact Catherine D. Clarke, director of education and regulatory advocacy, at cclarke@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5611.

0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
October 2008
Volume 13, Issue 14