Learning About Early Literacy Acquisition

Literacy scores are associated with an individual’s employment and health outcomes, wealth creation, and with societal crime rates and welfare dependency. Yet, even in developed countries, between one quarter to half of 9- to 11-year-olds fail to reach age-appropriate levels of attainment. To reduce the attainment gap, we require developmental models of literacy that account for the reciprocity and interdependence among different skills across development, and trajectories of development.

To advance understanding of early literacy development through analysis of children’s interactions with a digital reading support we use dataset from Amplify Reading. This evidence-based curriculum supplement has been adopted by over 2,000 schools in the USA, reaching about 250,000 5- to 11-year-olds. Initial exploration of the data has highlighted clear statistical challenges in its analysis as well as exciting opportunities related to multiple levels of both the temporal granularity and the variation in user behaviours.

The project will advance the fields of psychology, statistics and education by testing theory-derived hypotheses about specific relations among reading components, through novel statistical methodology. Thus informing the development of effective curricula and intervention for beginner readers. This project is a part of large international collaboration of literacy researchers in the UK, Netherlands, Italy and United States. The project is led jointly by CHICAS and the Department of Psychology in Lancaster.