The Impact of the Findings of the National Early Literacy Panel March 9 - 13, 2009

Discussion Announcement

The Family Literacy Discussion List will facilitate a panel discussion
about the recommendations of the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP)
and their impact on educators, parents and other children's caregivers.
Three members of the NELP will participate in the discussion. The
discussion will take place March 9-13, 2009. Please read the details
below, think about the questions, raise questions of your own, and
prepare for an exciting look at the findings of the National Early
Literacy Panel.


The National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) was convened in 2002 to conduct
a synthesis of the scientific research on the development of early
literacy skills in children ages zero to five. The objective for
convening the NELP was to identify interventions and practices that
promote positive outcomes in literacy for preschool children.

The National Institute for Literacy (Institute) acted as the lead agency in this project, in consultation with cooperating agencies from the Partnership for Reading. The National Center for Family Literacy, working closely with the Institute, coordinated NELP's work in the completion of the synthesis.

The panel's report, Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel, was released on January 8, 2009. Developing Early Literacy serves as the basis for several, research-based recommendations for parents and the early childhood community, including educators, caregivers, and Head Start providers on promoting the foundational skills of life-long literacy.

Guest Panelists

Laura Westberg is Director of Special Projects/Research at the National
Center for Family Literacy. In this capacity, she oversees research and
evaluation across the organization for determining the effectiveness of
products and services that contribute to the literacy development of
young children through adults. Her responsibilities include project
management and supervision, project design, product development,
research and evaluation, and proposal and grant writing. Ms. Westberg
directed the work of the National Early Literacy Panel and coordinated a
meta-analysis on parent involvement in children's reading acquisition
for the National Institute for Literacy.

Victoria Molfese is the Ashland/Nystrand Chair in Early Childhood
Education at the University of Louisville and Director of the Center for
Research in Early Childhood. She received her PhD in Developmental
Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and has published
journal articles, books, and book chapters in the area of cognitive
development in infants, children and adults. She has received grants in
support of research activities, including an NIH funded longitudinal
research grant on brain and behavioral predictors of language, reading
and cognitive development in children from birth through age 13 years.
She currently is conducting research on early predictors of reading and
mathematics abilities in infants and preschool children, efficacy of
mathematics intervention in preschoolers on improving skills of children
at risk at kindergarten entry and the development of interventions for
infants and preschoolers to mitigate development of learning
disabilities. Dr. Molfese served as a member of the National Early
Literacy Panel.

Timothy Shanahan is the chair of the National Early Literacy Panel. Dr. Shanahan is also a Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of the UIC Center for Literacy. He has served as Director of Reading for the Chicago Public Schools, and is a former first grade teacher. His research focuses on the relationship of reading and writing, the assessment of reading ability, family literacy, and school improvement. He has published more than 100 articles, chapters, and books on these topics.

Discussion Questions

  1. What were the questions that the National Early Literacy Panel
    (NELP) answered?
  2. What types of interventions did the NELP look at?
  3. What are the implications of the NELP findings for the
    instruction and assessment of young children?
  4. What do the findings of the NELP mean to adult/parent educators?
  5. How can parents best utilize the findings of the NELP to bolster
    the learning of their children?


Read the Executive Summary of the NELP Report, Developing Early
Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel
, to enrich your
participation in the discussion. It may be downloaded from

A copy of the full report can be downloaded from

Free print copies are available from EDPubs at