Stepping Stones to Literacy
Study: Nelson, Benner, & Gonzalez (2005)

Summary

Stepping Stones to Literacy is a scientifically based (i.e., a randomized experimental study used to validate its effectiveness) early literacy intervention. The program includes the critical properties of effective early literacy interventions identified by the NICHD’s National Reading Panel (2000). Stepping Stones helps children to master five pivotal early literacy skill sets to ensure that they benefit from beginning reading instruction. The five pivotal early literacy skills and associated activities include: 1. Listening. Listening instructional activities teach children to focus on specific sounds and to understand that sounds: (a) Are associated with symbols; (b) Can be put together in a sequence; and (c) Can be taken apart. 2. Conventions. Conventions instructional activities teach children to identify letter names and convey that language has meaning (i.e., sentences tell stories). Additionally, the letter identification instructional activities are designed to build children’s serial processing skills. 3. Phonological awareness. Phonological awareness instructional activities teach children to be consciously aware of the linguistic structure of the largest units of oral language (i.e., words, syllables). 4. Phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness instructional activities teach children to be consciously sensitive to the smallest units of oral language (i.e., phonemes). 5. Serial processing. Serial processing instructional activities build children’s ability to process information in a left-to-right format. Serial processing-identifying and naming different patterns of given stimuli is critical to achieving automaticity with the code or reading fluency. During a typical daily lesson, children are guided through a set of instructional activities designed to promote the five pivotal early literacy skills as listed above. The instructional format is held constant over the course of the 25 lessons and includes a nursery rhyme to introduce each lesson and 4–6 short activities. The activities are presented in a model-lead-test format, which ensures mastery and on-going progress monitoring. Note: Teachers are provided with prompts in English and Spanish.

Target Grades:
K, 1
Target Populations:
  • Students with disabilities only
  • Students with learning disabilities
  • English language learners
  • Any student at risk for academic failure
Area(s) of Focus:
  • Phonological awareness
  • Phonics/word study
  • Other: Serial processing and listening
Where to Obtain:
Cambium Education, Inc.
4093 Specialty Place, Longmont, CO 80504
800-547-6747
www.cambiumlearning.com
Initial Cost:
$50.69 per 5 students/1 teacher
Replacement Cost:
Free

Initial cost for implementing program: 5 students/1 teacher: $50.69/student (Cost includes all student and teacher materials: Instructor’s Manual and Lesson Book). Pricing based on 2012 prices. Visit http://store.cambiumlearning.com for future pricing. Stepping Stones is sold as a Literacy Set. Each set comprises an Instructor’s Manual and Lesson Book. There are no on-going purchases needed to continue implementation.

Staff Qualified to Administer Include:
  • Special Education Teacher
  • General Education Teacher
  • Reading Specialist
  • Math Specialist
  • EL Specialist
  • Interventionist
  • Student Support Services Personnel (e.g., counselor, social worker, school psychologist, etc.)
  • Paraprofessional
  • Other:
Training Requirements:
Training not required

Training is not required. Training can be provided at the request of the school district.


There are no specific training materials for this product—strong professional development support and guidance is included in the product.

Access to Technical Support:
Professional development provided at request of school district.
Recommended Administration Formats Include:
  • Individual students
  • Small group of students
Minimum Number of Minutes Per Session:
20
Minimum Number of Sessions Per Week:
5
Minimum Number of Weeks:
10
Detailed Implementation Manual or Instructions Available:
Yes
Is Technology Required?
No technology is required.

Program Information

Descriptive Information

Please provide a description of program, including intended use:

Stepping Stones to Literacy is a scientifically based (i.e., a randomized experimental study used to validate its effectiveness) early literacy intervention. The program includes the critical properties of effective early literacy interventions identified by the NICHD’s National Reading Panel (2000). Stepping Stones helps children to master five pivotal early literacy skill sets to ensure that they benefit from beginning reading instruction. The five pivotal early literacy skills and associated activities include: 1. Listening. Listening instructional activities teach children to focus on specific sounds and to understand that sounds: (a) Are associated with symbols; (b) Can be put together in a sequence; and (c) Can be taken apart. 2. Conventions. Conventions instructional activities teach children to identify letter names and convey that language has meaning (i.e., sentences tell stories). Additionally, the letter identification instructional activities are designed to build children’s serial processing skills. 3. Phonological awareness. Phonological awareness instructional activities teach children to be consciously aware of the linguistic structure of the largest units of oral language (i.e., words, syllables). 4. Phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness instructional activities teach children to be consciously sensitive to the smallest units of oral language (i.e., phonemes). 5. Serial processing. Serial processing instructional activities build children’s ability to process information in a left-to-right format. Serial processing-identifying and naming different patterns of given stimuli is critical to achieving automaticity with the code or reading fluency. During a typical daily lesson, children are guided through a set of instructional activities designed to promote the five pivotal early literacy skills as listed above. The instructional format is held constant over the course of the 25 lessons and includes a nursery rhyme to introduce each lesson and 4–6 short activities. The activities are presented in a model-lead-test format, which ensures mastery and on-going progress monitoring. Note: Teachers are provided with prompts in English and Spanish.

The program is intended for use in the following age(s) and/or grade(s).

not selected Age 0-3
not selected Age 3-5
selected Kindergarten
selected First grade
not selected Second grade
not selected Third grade
not selected Fourth grade
not selected Fifth grade
not selected Sixth grade
not selected Seventh grade
not selected Eighth grade
not selected Ninth grade
not selected Tenth grade
not selected Eleventh grade
not selected Twelth grade


The program is intended for use with the following groups.

selected Students with disabilities only
selected Students with learning disabilities
not selected Students with intellectual disabilities
not selected Students with emotional or behavioral disabilities
selected English language learners
selected Any student at risk for academic failure
not selected Any student at risk for emotional and/or behavioral difficulties
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

ACADEMIC INTERVENTION: Please indicate the academic area of focus.

Early Literacy

not selected Print knowledge/awareness
not selected Alphabet knowledge
not selected Phonological awareness
not selected Phonological awarenessEarly writing
not selected Early decoding abilities
not selected Other

If other, please describe:

Language

not selected Expressive and receptive vocabulary
not selected Grammar
not selected Syntax
not selected Listening comprehension
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Reading

selected Phonological awareness
selected Phonics/word study
not selected Comprehension
not selected Fluency
not selected Vocabulary
not selected Spelling
selected Other
If other, please describe:
Serial processing and listening

Mathematics

not selected Computation
not selected Concepts and/or word problems
not selected Whole number arithmetic
not selected Comprehensive: Includes computation/procedures, problem solving, and mathematical concepts
not selected Algebra
not selected Fractions, decimals (rational number)
not selected Geometry and measurement
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Writing

not selected Handwriting
not selected Spelling
not selected Sentence construction
not selected Planning and revising
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: Please indicate the behavior area of focus.

Externalizing Behavior

not selected Physical Aggression
not selected Verbal Threats
not selected Property Destruction
not selected Noncompliance
not selected High Levels of Disengagement
not selected Disruptive Behavior
not selected Social Behavior (e.g., Peer interactions, Adult interactions)
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Internalizing Behavior

not selected Depression
not selected Anxiety
not selected Social Difficulties (e.g., withdrawal)
not selected School Phobia
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Acquisition and cost information

Where to obtain:

Address
4093 Specialty Place, Longmont, CO 80504
Phone Number
800-547-6747
Website
www.cambiumlearning.com

Initial cost for implementing program:

Cost
$50.69
Unit of cost
5 students/1 teacher

Replacement cost per unit for subsequent use:

Cost
$0.00
Unit of cost
Duration of license

Additional cost information:

Describe basic pricing plan and structure of the program. Also, provide information on what is included in the published program, as well as what is not included but required for implementation (e.g., computer and/or internet access)

Initial cost for implementing program: 5 students/1 teacher: $50.69/student (Cost includes all student and teacher materials: Instructor’s Manual and Lesson Book). Pricing based on 2012 prices. Visit http://store.cambiumlearning.com for future pricing. Stepping Stones is sold as a Literacy Set. Each set comprises an Instructor’s Manual and Lesson Book. There are no on-going purchases needed to continue implementation.

Program Specifications

Setting for which the program is designed.

selected Individual students
selected Small group of students
not selected BI ONLY: A classroom of students

If group-delivered, how many students compose a small group?

   2-5

Program administration time

Minimum number of minutes per session
20
Minimum number of sessions per week
5
Minimum number of weeks
10
not selected N/A (implemented until effective)

If intervention program is intended to occur over less frequently than 60 minutes a week for approximately 8 weeks, justify the level of intensity:

Does the program include highly specified teacher manuals or step by step instructions for implementation?
Yes

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: Is the program affiliated with a broad school- or class-wide management program?

If yes, please identify and describe the broader school- or class-wide management program:

Does the program require technology?
No

If yes, what technology is required to implement your program?
not selected Computer or tablet
not selected Internet connection
not selected Other technology (please specify)

If your program requires additional technology not listed above, please describe the required technology and the extent to which it is combined with teacher small-group instruction/intervention:

Training

How many people are needed to implement the program ?

Is training for the instructor or interventionist required?
No
If yes, is the necessary training free or at-cost?

Describe the time required for instructor or interventionist training:
Training not required

Describe the format and content of the instructor or interventionist training:
Training is not required. Training can be provided at the request of the school district.

What types or professionals are qualified to administer your program?

selected Special Education Teacher
selected General Education Teacher
selected Reading Specialist
selected Math Specialist
selected EL Specialist
selected Interventionist
selected Student Support Services Personnel (e.g., counselor, social worker, school psychologist, etc.)
not selected Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
selected Paraprofessional
not selected Other

If other, please describe:

Does the program assume that the instructor or interventionist has expertise in a given area?
No   

If yes, please describe: 


Are training manuals and materials available?
No

Describe how the training manuals or materials were field-tested with the target population of instructors or interventionist and students:
There are no specific training materials for this product—strong professional development support and guidance is included in the product.

Do you provide fidelity of implementation guidance such as a checklist for implementation in your manual?

Can practitioners obtain ongoing professional and technical support?
Yes

If yes, please specify where/how practitioners can obtain support:

Professional development provided at request of school district.

Summary of Evidence Base

Please identify, to the best of your knowledge, all the research studies that have been conducted to date supporting the efficacy of your program, including studies currently or previously submitted to NCII for review. Please provide citations only (in APA format); do not include any descriptive information on these studies. NCII staff will also conduct a search to confirm that the list you provide is accurate.

Nelson, J. R., Benner, G. J., & Gonzalez, J. (2005). An investigation of the effects of a prereading intervention on the early literacy skills of children at risk of emotional disturbance and reading problems. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 13(1), 3-12.

Nelson, J. R., Sanders, E. A., & Gonzalez, J. (2010). The efficacy of supplemental early literacy instruction by community–based tutors for preschoolers enrolled in Head Start. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3, 1-25.

Nelson, J. R., Stage, S. A., Epstein, M. H., & Pierce, C. D. (2005). Effects of a prereading intervention on the literacy and social skills of children. Exceptional Children, 72(1), 29-45.

Study Information

Study Citations

Nelson, J. R., Benner, G. J. & Gonzalez, J. (2005). An Investigation of the Effects of a Prereading Intervention on the Early Literacy Skills of Children At Risk of Emotional Disturbance and Reading Problems. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 13(1) 3-12.

Participants Full Bobble

Describe how students were selected to participate in the study:
Children were drawn from kindergarten classrooms in seven moderate to high poverty elementary schools located in a medium sized Midwestern city. Parental consent was obtained in all cases.

Describe how students were identified as being at risk for academic failure (AI) or as having emotional or behavioral difficulties (BI):
A three-step screening process was used to identify participants. The first two steps included the first and second gates of the Early Screening Project (ESP) to identify students at risk for ED. The remaining step involved the administration of DIBELS Letter Naming (LNF) and Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) probes to identify children at risk for reading problems. Additional information: The norm referenced measure directly linked to the intervention is the CTOPP PA. The group (entire sample) pre-test average on the CTOPP PA is equal to the 25th (standard score at pre-test = 90) percentile. The DIBELS measures at pretest for the treatment group have the following winter percentile ranks: DIBELS ISF: Mean 9.6;Percentile Rank 16th DIBELS PSF: Mean 4.4;Percentile Rank 14th DIBELS NWF: Mean 2.1;Percentile Rank 14th

ACADEMIC INTERVENTION: What percentage of participants were at risk, as measured by one or more of the following criteria:
  • below the 30th percentile on local or national norm, or
  • identified disability related to the focus of the intervention?
%

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: What percentage of participants were at risk, as measured by one or more of the following criteria:
  • emotional disability label,
  • placed in an alternative school/classroom,
  • non-responsive to Tiers 1 and 2, or
  • designation of severe problem behaviors on a validated scale or through observation?
%

Specify which condition is the submitted intervention:
The experimental condition received Stepping Stones to Literacy

Specify which condition is the control condition:
Children in the comparison condition received the kindergarten literacy instruction provided in the classroom. Teachers used the required district kindergarten literacy outcomes to guide kindergarten literacy instruction provided to children. No attempt was made to change any of the early literacy instructional activities provided to children by teachers in this condition.

If you have a third, competing condition, in addition to your control and intervention condition, identify what the competing condition is (data from this competing condition will not be used):

Using the tables that follow, provide data demonstrating comparability of the program group and control group in terms of demographics.

Grade Level

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Age less than 1
Age 1
Age 2
Age 3
Age 4
Age 5
Kindergarten 18 18 0.00
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8
Grade 9
Grade 10
Grade 11
Grade 12

Race–Ethnicity

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
African American 6 4 0.34
American Indian
Asian/Pacific Islander 0 1 2.52
Hispanic 2 1 0.40
White 10 12 0.28
Other

Socioeconomic Status

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Subsidized Lunch 11 8 0.42
No Subsidized Lunch 7 10 0.42

Disability Status

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Speech-Language Impairments
Learning Disabilities
Behavior Disorders
Emotional Disturbance
Intellectual Disabilities
Other
Not Identified With a Disability

ELL Status

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
English Language Learner 1 1 0.00
Not English Language Learner 17 17 0.00

Gender

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Female 1 1 0.00
Male 17 17 0.00

Mean Effect Size

0.40

For any substantively (e.g., effect size ≥ 0.25 for pretest or demographic differences) or statistically significant (e.g., p < 0.05) pretest differences between groups in the descriptions below, please describe the extent to which these differences are related to the impact of the treatment. For example, if analyses were conducted to determine that outcomes from this study are due to the intervention and not demographic characteristics, please describe the results of those analyses here.

Design Full Bobble

What method was used to determine students' placement in treatment/control groups?
Random
Please describe the assignment method or the process for defining treatment/comparison groups.
The 63 children were randomly assigned (using the uniform distribution random number generator in MS Excel) to the experimental and control conditions.

What was the unit of assignment?
Students
If other, please specify:

Please describe the unit of assignment:

What unit(s) were used for primary data analysis?
not selected Schools
not selected Teachers
selected Students
not selected Classes
not selected Other
If other, please specify:

Please describe the unit(s) used for primary data analysis:

Fidelity of Implementation Full Bobble

How was the program delivered?
selected Individually
not selected Small Group
not selected Classroom

If small group, answer the following:

Average group size
Minimum group size
Maximum group size

What was the duration of the intervention (If duration differed across participants, settings, or behaviors, describe for each.)?

Weeks
8.00
Sessions per week
3.00
Duration of sessions in minutes
20.00
What were the background, experience, training, and ongoing support of the instructors or interventionists?
Stepping Stones instruction was provided by trained paraprofessional level tutors. First, tutors were provided the theory and rationale for Stepping Stones. Second, each of the instructional activities were described and modeled for the tutors. Third, tutors then practiced each of the instructional activities with each other. Tutors were provided corrective feedback while they were practicing the instructional activities. Fourth, tutors were observed delivering three complete lessons selected randomly. Finally, following training, tutors were observed and provided corrective feedback if necessary while tutoring children the first five lessons.

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained.
Tutor self-evaluations and direct observations were used to assess treatment fidelity. Both measures assessed the total number of program components implemented correctly. Self-evaluations were completed on a weekly basis. Tutors were observed three times during the implementation of the early literacy support program. Three trained observers conducted the observations randomly. Inter-observer agreement which was conducted on 33% of the sessions was 100%.

What were the results on the fidelity-of-treatment implementation measure?
Tutor-reported overall mean percentage of Stepping Stones intervention program components implemented correctly was 97% (SD= 2.56). Independent observations were conducted randomly on a total of 42 tutoring sessions. The percentage of intervention program components implemented correctly was 100% in all cases.

Was the fidelity measure also used in control classrooms?
No

Measures and Results

Measures Targeted : Full Bobble
Measures Broader : Full Bobble

Study measures are classified as targeted, broader, or administrative data according to the following definitions:

  • Targeted measures
    Assess outcomes, such as competencies or skills that the program was directly targeted to improve.
    • In the academic domain, targeted measures typically are not the very items taught but rather novel items structured similarly to the content addressed in the program. For example, if a program taught word-attack skills, a targeted measure would be decoding of pseudo words. If a program taught comprehension of cause-effect passages, a targeted measure would be answering questions about cause-effect passages structured similarly to those used during intervention, but not including the very passages used for intervention.
    • In the behavioral domain, targeted measures evaluate aspects of external or internal behavior the program was directly targeted to improve and are operationally defined.
  • Broader measures
    Assess outcomes that are related to the competencies or skills targeted by the program but not directly taught in the program.
    • In the academic domain, if a program taught word-level reading skill, a broader measure would be answering questions about passages the student reads. If a program taught calculation skill, a broader measure would be solving word problems that require the same kinds of calculation skill taught in the program.
    • In the behavioral domain, if a program taught a specific skill like on-task behavior in one classroom, a broader measure would be academic performance in that setting or on-task behavior in another setting.
  • Administrative data measures apply only to behavioral intervention tools and are measures such as office discipline referrals (ODRs) and graduation rates which do not have psychometric properties as do other, more traditional targeted or broader measures.

Click here for more information on effect size.


What populations are you submitting outcome data for?
not selected Full sample
not selected Students at or below the 20th percentile
not selected English language learners
not selected Racial/ethnic subgroups
not selected Economically disadvantaged students (low socioeconomic status)
Targeted Measure Reverse Coded? Reliability Relevance Exposure
Broader Measure Reverse Coded? Reliability Relevance Exposure
Administrative Data Measure Reverse Coded? Relevance

Posttest Data

Targeted Measures (Full Sample)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Broader Measures (Full Sample)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Administrative Measures (Full Sample)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Targeted Measures (Subgroups)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Broader Measures (Subgroups)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Administrative Measures (Subgroups)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P
For any substantively (e.g., effect size ≥ 0.25 for pretest or demographic differences) or statistically significant (e.g., p < 0.05) pretest differences, please describe the extent to which these differences are related to the impact of the treatment. For example, if analyses were conducted to determine that outcomes from this study are due to the intervention and not pretest characteristics, please describe the results of those analyses here.
Please explain any missing data or instances of measures with incomplete pre- or post-test data.
If you have excluded a variable or data that are reported in the study being submitted, explain the rationale for exclusion:
Describe the analyses used to determine whether the intervention produced changes in student outcomes:
Mean changes in the experimental and comparison group’s phonological awareness, word reading, and rapid naming measures were analyzed in Group (Experimental, Comparison) X Change (Pre-intervention, post-intervention) Analysis of Variance (ANOVAs) with the latter variable being a within-subject factor. A significant Group X Change interaction effect was obtained in all cases.

Additional Research

Is the program reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA?
WWC
Summary of WWC / E-ESSA Findings :

What Works Clearinghouse Review

Beginning Reading Protocol

Effectiveness: Stepping Stones to Literacy was found to have positive effects on student outcomes in the alphabetics domain.

Studies Reviewed: 2 studies meet standards out of 2 studies total

Full Report

 

Evidence for ESSA

This program was not reviewed by Evidence for ESSA.

How many additional research studies are potentially eligible for NCII review?
0
Citations for Additional Research Studies :

Disclaimer

Most tools and programs evaluated by the NCII are branded products which have been submitted by the companies, organizations, or individuals that disseminate these products. These entities supply the textual information shown above, but not the ratings accompanying the text. NCII administrators and members of our Technical Review Committees have reviewed the content on this page, but NCII cannot guarantee that this information is free from error or reflective of recent changes to the product. Tools and programs have the opportunity to be updated annually or upon request.