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Preschool Writing Project: July 2017 – June 2021

An Examination of Response to Intervention in the Early Writing Skills of At-Risk Preschoolers

U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences


For Parents





Who’s participating?

Kids attending Head Start centers in two local counties are participating in the project. They enroll two years prior to entering kindergarten and participate for 3 years.

What are we learning?

The primary purpose of this project is to establish a stronger scientific foundation for educational practice within early literacy by utilizing recent advances in cognitive science and neuroscience to examine:

(1) the impact of an established evidence-based intervention (Phonological Awareness+Letter Knowledge: PA+LK) on the developmental trajectories of writing skills in preschool children at-risk for early learning problems;

(2) whether improvements in selected cognitive abilities (i.e., fine-motor, language-based functions), but not others (i.e., executive functions) mediate the effects of treatment on writing outcomes; and,

(3) whether treatment is moderated by child (cognitive ability) or contextual (home and classroom literacy environment) factors.

Want to know more?

Meet the Team , check out our Publications or Contact Us for more information.



Preschool child looking up at the alphabet.

We are providing instruction using the evidence-based lesson plans from the PA+LK approach. At age 3, preschoolers who are deemed typically developing or at risk for challenges with literacy. The kids at risk will be randomly assigned either a no-treatment group or a treatment group. The treatment group participates in evidence-based lessons targeted to improve emergent early literacy skills, for two consecutive years. The sessions will focus on phonological awareness, developing letter knowledge, and print skills. The no-treatment groups participates in book based reading and activities.

If you would like to receive information contact:
Phone: 919-966-4844

You can also click on the Contact Us section!

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a 4 year study; each child will participate for 3 years at age 3, 4 and 5.
We will complete a 90-minute assessment each fall, followed by instruction 3 times per week for 14 weeks in the spring for the first two years.
For confidentiality, the final results from the study will be reported about the group as a whole and will not include information about individual participants. Results can be found on the website and will be presented at the annual parent meetings. Parents can request information about their child by contacting the project director.