All children need to develop foundational language and literacy skills to be successful in learning to read. ExCELL is a research-based program that trains teachers in evidence-based strategies to develop these skills in all children, including dual language learners.
Our Core Beliefs
- Early language skills lay the foundation for literacy.
- Literacy is essential for success in school—and life.
- Instructional quality in early childhood matters for children’s success in school and beyond.
- Teachers are professionals who can make an impact that lasts a lifetime.
- Every child can develop strong language skills when provided quality instruction.
- Home language is an academic, cultural, and personal asset.
The most valuable part of ExCELL is gaining the opportunity to identify with your students’ home language. Both students and teacher become learners as they both learn from each other.
Lead Teacher, NYC
Putting 20 Years of Research into Practice
More than 10 years ago, Dr. Carol Scheffner Hammer joined the team, bringing her expertise on the language and literacy development of dual language learners. As a result, the ExCELL PD was expanded to support lead and assistant teachers in meeting the needs of bilingually developing children in their classrooms.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of ExCELL (Wasik & Hindman, 2011; Wasik, Bond, & Hindman, 2006) and of components of ExCELL (Wasik & Hindman, 2020) were conducted in preschools serving high-poverty, diverse populations. The results of these RCTs are summarized below.
After ExCELL, I feel confident to speak more than one language in my classroom, and I know my students are benefiting from it.
Lead Teacher, NYC
The ExCELL Impact
Classroom Quality Improves
Increases Teacher-Student Interactions
ExCELL improves classroom quality by increasing teacher-student interactions.
Teachers significantly increased:
- their classroom quality (e.g., effect size of 1.00 on the CLASS Instructional Support domain)
- their use of key instructional strategies for early literacy, including:
- defining words (effect size: 1.50)
- asking open-ended questions (effect size: 1.60).
Children's Language Skills Increase
Accelerates Language Learning Across Demographic Groups
ExCELL improves language skills for all children.
- Children learned 90% of the vocabulary words taught in the classroom.
- Children made large gains (effect size =.77) on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, meaning that children learned words that were not explicitly taught.
Gains were observed for all children, including emerging multilingual learners (EMLs) and those with disabilities.
To date, ExCELL is the only PD for teachers of young children that focuses on EMLs and that has resulted in significant changes in teachers’ quality of language and literacy instruction and children’s outcomes.