University of Iowa

Preparing Beginning Reading Teachers: An Experimental Comparison of Initial Early Literacy Field Experiences


This randomized-control trial examined the learning of preservice teachers taking an initial Early Literacy course in an early childhood education program and of the kindergarten or first grade students they tutored in their field experience. Preservice teachers were randomly assigned to one of two tutoring programs: Book Buddies and Tutor Assisted Intensive Learning Strategies (TAILS), which provided identical meaning-focused instruction (shared book reading), but differed in the presentation of code-focused skills. TAILS used explicit, scripted lessons, and the Book Buddies required that code-focused instruction take place during shared book reading. Our research goal was to understand which tutoring program would be most effective in improving knowledge about reading, lead to broad and deep language and preparedness of the novice preservice teachers, and yield the most successful student reading outcomes. Findings indicate that all pre-service teachers demonstrated similar gains in knowledge, but preservice teachers in the TAILS program demonstrated broader and deeper application of knowledge and higher self-ratings of preparedness to teach reading. Students in both conditions made similar comprehension gains, but students tutored with TAILS showed significantly stronger decoding gains.


Al Otaiba, S., Lake, V. E., Greulich, L., Folsom, J. S., & Guidry, L. (2012). Preparing beginning reading teachers: An experimental comparison of initial early literacy field experiences. Reading and Writing, 25(1), 109-129. doi: 10.1007/s11145-010-9250-2

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