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Identifying Key Early Literacy and School Readiness Issues: Exploring a Strategy for Assessing Community Needs

Keywords: Young Children , Delphi Technique , Needs Assessment , Early Literacy , School Readiness

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Abstract:

Much effort has been expended in developing intervention programs to help improve the early literacy and school readiness skills of young children. This article presents the results of a needs assessment project aimed at identifying priorities for community intervention programs aimed at ensuring that young children enter school ready to learn. A panel of 30 carefully selected early childhood panelists completed 4 rounds of questionnaires designed to develop a prioritized list of key community needs and programs. The panelists identified 39 broad issues and prioritized these in terms of critical importance. Participants also identified key existing assets and needed community efforts to address the highest rated priorities. Several implications for educational intervention and service provision can be drawn from this project. The article may provide a blueprint for others wishing to identify key community needs related to important early childhood issues.

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