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Early Literacy and Learning Model

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A literacy-focused curriculum and support system designed for preschool children ages 3, 4, and 5 years old. The program is designed to enhance existing classroom curricula by specifically focusing on improving children's early literacy skills and knowledge.

Program Outcomes

  • Cognitive Development
  • Preschool Communication/Language Development

Program Type

  • Academic Services
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Teacher Training

Program Setting

  • Home
  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)
  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)


  • Early Childhood (3-4) - Preschool


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Dr. Madelaine Cosgrove (
or Howaida Mousa (
Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida
Adam W. Herbert University Center
12000 Alumni Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32224
(904) 620-2496

Curriculum information and materials available at:

Program Developer/Owner

  • Dr. Madelaine Cosgrove
  • Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida

Brief Description of the Program

The Early Literacy and Learning Model (ELLM) is a literacy-focused curriculum and support system targeting young children from low-income families. The program is designed to enhance existing classroom curricula by specifically focusing on children’s early literacy skills and knowledge. The program is designed to be implemented year-round or during the academic year and supplements the daily activities of the classroom. Teacher support and family involvement opportunities also occur regularly throughout the year.

The ELLM program components include the following:

  • curriculum and literacy building blocks;
  • assessment for instructional improvement;
  • professional development for literacy coaches and teachers;
  • family involvement; and
  • collaborative partnerships.

See: Full Description


In the national study (PCERC, 2008):

  • No evidence of impact at intervention year post-test.
  • No evidence of an effect on the children's mathematic understanding, early reading, phonological awareness, or behavior.
  • There was also no evidence of an effect on teachers’ overall classroom management, teacher-child relationships, or classroom instruction at any time period.
  • There was a delayed effect on vocabulary that showed up at the end of Kindergarten (1 year post-intervention).

In the complimentary study (Cosgrove et al., 2006):

  • Children who received ELLM showed greater recognition of letters and better emerging literacy skills than children who did not.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

The sample in both studies was mostly African American with smaller numbers of White and Hispanic participants.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Family: Low socioeconomic status
  • School: Poor academic performance
Protective Factors
  • Family: Parental involvement in education
  • School: Instructional Practice

See also: Early Literacy and Learning Model Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

ELLM/Plus Introduction Training (2-day): $375 per participant (with a minimum of ten participants) for training at program site plus meeting costs (food, A/V) and travel costs for trainers. Training provides not only an overview of the curriculum, but also opportunities to engage in hands-on experiences with curriculum implementation through modeling and practice activities, and using supplemental resources to enhance daily instruction. Content includes:

  • Using the ELLM/Plus Monthly Instructional Packets to organize and implement literacy and language instruction each day
  • Setting up classrooms that promote learning and positive interactions
  • Planning and scheduling daily learning activities
  • Helping children build their background knowledge and vocabulary
  • Using informational assessment to scaffold learning
  • Promoting children's language and literacy development through adult-child and child-child interactions
  • Connecting home and school learning
  • Planning the ELLM/Plus day
  • Using the Teaching Table for small group instruction
  • Integrating the curriculum across the content areas
  • Building children's background knowledge through one-on-one conversations and small group discussions

Strategic Coach Institute (5-day): $2,650 per participant plus travel to training and administrator or coach time. Florida Institute of Education recommends that a program administrator or a coach participate in this training that equips them to provide ongoing fidelity monitoring and training to staff.

Customized training is also available. Customized training is designed to address needs identified by administrators and/or participants overseeing implementation. Lengths of training and follow-up activities are decided on a case-by-case basis to meet implementation needs of participants.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

The Early Literacy and Learning Model (ELLM) was evaluated in a national experimental study (PCERC, 2008) and in a complimentary experimental study that took place simultaneously with the first-year of the national pilot study (Cosgrove et al., 2006). The national first-year pilot study was comprised of a subset of the classes sampled for the complimentary experimental study. The sampled preschools in the studies included full-day Head Start, subsidized, faith-based, and public school-based early intervention programs located in three geographic areas of Florida.

The national study (PCERC, 2008) included classrooms from 28 preschools (all but one of the intervention group teachers had been assigned to the intervention group during the national pilot study year - a new group of wait-list control teachers were selected for the national study). A total of 244 children between the ages of 3 and 5 years (average 4.6 years) took part. The children were assessed at the start and end of the preschool year. The overall classroom environment, teacher-child interaction and classroom instructional practices were also measured during the preschool year. A follow up assessment took place at the end of the children's Kindergarten school year to evaluate the long term effectiveness of the ELLM program on the children's literacy skills.

The complimentary experimental study (Cosgrove et al., 2006) included a final sample of 48 classrooms and teachers and 466 children. The children's emergent literacy skills and alphabet recognition were tested at the start and end of their preschool year. A follow-up study (adding 2003-2004 kindergarten data to the original study) was conducted (Wehry, 2006a, 2006b, and 2006c).


Cosgrove, M., Fountain, C., Wehry, S., Wood, J. & Kasten, K. (2006,April). Randomized Field Trial of an Early Literacy Curriculum and Instructional Support System. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco.

Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research Consortium (PCERC) (2008). Effects of Preschool Curriculum Programs on School Readiness (NCER 2008-2009), pg. 99-108, C-17, C-18, D-17, D-18. National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.