Efficacy of the TELL language and literacy curriculum for preschoolers with developmental speech and/or language impairment

Martha Wilcox, Shelley Gray, Amy B. Guimond, Addie E. Lafferty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The purpose of this investigation was to examine the efficacy of a new preschool oral language and early literacy curriculum package (Teaching Early Literacy and Language [. TELL]) for children with developmental speech and/or language impairment (DSLI) either as a primary (e.g., specific to speech and/or language) or secondary impairment (e.g., developmental delay that includes DSLI). Participants included 118 children (30 females, 88 males, M age = 53.58 months) with DLSI and their 29 preschool teachers. The design was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with assignment to experimental versus contrast conditions at the classroom level. Teachers in TELL classes received formal training, in-class support, and mentoring to implement the curriculum. Dependent measures for the children included scores on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool 2nd edition (CELF-P2), the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Preschool (PALS-PreK), the Renfrew Bus Story (BUS), and a receptive and expressive vocabulary measure developed for this investigation (VOCAB). Results indicated that when compared to the contrast group, children in the TELL condition demonstrated greater gains on the phonological awareness subtest of the CELF-P2, the sentence length score of the BUS, the letter sounds, beginning sound awareness, and rhyme awareness subtests of the PALS-PreK, and VOCAB. Results suggest that the TELL curriculum package has promise for promoting gains in early literacy and oral language skills in preschool children with DLSI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-294
Number of pages17
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011


  • Early literacy
  • Language impairment
  • Oral language
  • Preschool curriculum
  • Preschool curriculum effectiveness
  • Speech impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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