Educator outcomes associated with implementation of Mississippi’s K–3 early literacy professional development initiative (IES - Regional Educational Laboratory Program)


In January of 2014 the Mississippi Department of Education began providing early literacy professional development to all K-3 educators using the Language Essentials for Teaching Reading and Spelling program. Participants received the professional development content across eight modules split into two phases. Each phase included six weeks of online coursework and three days of face-to-face workshops. Typically, educators completed one phase per academic year. Content ranged from learning the foundations of language and reading to teaching comprehension strategies and writing instruction. At the same time as the professional development, the department provided state literacy coaches to target schools (those most in need based on the percentage of students in the lowest two achievement levels on the statewide literacy assessment). The state literacy coaches spent an average of two to three days per week in each school they served.

The findings of this study suggest that during the period when the Language Essentials for Teaching Reading and Spelling professional development program was implemented, teacher knowledge of early literacy skills, the quality of early literacy skills instruction, student engagement during early literacy skills instruction, and teaching competencies improved among educators who participated in the program over and above any increases found among educators generally. The findings suggest that progress in the program was associated with improvements in teacher knowledge, quality of instruction, student engagement, and teacher competencies.


Evidence-Based Practice Literacy