Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Patricia Pinciotti, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Susan Harlan, Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this correlational study was to determine whether a relationship existed between the physical and social elements of process quality within a preschool’s language and early literacy environment and children’s pre-reading and writing performance in the beginning of kindergarten in a rural school district. The study examined school readiness, quality preschool experiences, and early literacy development with theoretical concepts by Vygotsky providing the foundation for children’s development. Four Keystone STAR preschools and ninety-seven kindergarten children participated in the study. Preschool observation data were collected utilizing the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale – Revised Edition (ECERS-R) (Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 1998) and the Early Language & Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) Pre-K (Smith, Brady, & Anastasopoulos, 2008). Assessment data pertaining to children’s pre-reading and writing performance in the beginning of kindergarten were collected from the Center for Improving the Readiness of Children for Learning and Education (CIRCLE) (Landry, Assel, Williams, Zucker, Swank, & Gunnewig, 2014), Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Next (Good, Kaminski, Cummings et al., 2011), Concepts About Print tasks, and District Writing Samples scored using the Conventions of Writing Developmental Scale (Feldgus & Cardonick, 1999). Demographic data were also collected about kindergarten participants to provide background information used for statistical analyses. Qualitative data were collected in the form of preschool observation notes and information reported on a Response Survey for Participating Preschools. Preschool observation data from the ECERS-R and ELLCO Pre-K revealed strengths and weaknesses in rating scores for elements of process quality related to language and literacy. Results of data analyses showed a significant relationship between the physical elements of process quality from the ELLCO Pre-K and children’s performance on the DIBELS Next. Other factors that were found to have significant relationships included gender (female) with performance on the CIRCLE Rapid Letter Naming, gender (female) with performance on the DIBELS Next, and entry age to kindergarten with results from the CIRCLE PA Composite score. This study found the quality of preschool environments, among other factors, to contribute to children’s early literacy development.

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