The Literacy Skills of Children with One versus Two Years of Head Start Attendance


  • Priscila G. Baddouh University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Richard G. Lambert


Keywords, preschool assessment, Early Head Start, Head Start, early literacy


Research Findings: This quantitative study was designed to investigate whether children who return to a Head Start program (for a second year or from an Early Head Start Program) have different literacy skills and perform better than newly enrolled children, and to compare returning children’s literacy skills from rural, suburban and urban centers. This study uses the Language and Emerging Literacy Assessment (LELA) and analyzes the literacy scores of 2,305 3- and 4-year olds, from 39 Head Start centers in Alabama. The results reveal that returning children have higher literacy skills, but the return effect in centers differs depending on center’s location, percentage of 3 year olds, and percentage of ESL children. Practice or Policy: The results indicate that policymakers should consider the benefits of more than one year in a Head Start program. However, another policy issue is the differences in quality and resources among Head Start centers. In our results, the benefits of returning to a Head Start were higher in an urban than a rural location, suggesting that children who return to a center in an urban region may receive a higher quality education than in a center in other regions.






Research Articles