Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Interdisciplinary Education

Major Professor

George Batsche, Ed.D

Co-Major Professor

Kathy L. Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kathleen Armstrong, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey Kromrey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan Homan, Ph.D.


Early literacy, IGDI, DIBELS, ESI-K, HUR


Reading to learn becomes a difficult task for children if they have not become proficient at comprehending written text. It was hypothesized that, for some children, reading difficulties may have been averted had they been reared in homes or participated in early childhood settings where literacy-based activities, interactions, or materials were prevalent. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact that training early childhood educators in researchbased early literacy instructional strategies (within the HeadsUp! Reading curriculum ñ HUR) had on the development of early reading skills in the preschool children they taught. Further examination also identified the impact that providing teachers with a Literacy Coach (LC) to mentor them in their application of the strategies had on early literacy development. The HUR class, LC positions, and additional resources provided to teachers partaking in this early childhood educator training were funded by the Early Learning Opportunities (ELO) grant.

To examine the impact that teacher participation in the ELO grant had on childrenís early literacy development, a hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was conducted with childrenís early literacy development measured at two points in time by the Individual Development and Growth Indicators (IGDI). After examining these indicators within a three-level model, change over time was documented. Specifically, age and race emerged as significant predictors of rates of literacy skill acquisition with older students and White students demonstrating higher rates of literacy development. Household socioeconomic status (SES) of children also accounted for significant amounts of variance in literacy development with higher rates of growth found in children from higher household SES. Most relevant to this study, ELO participation emerged as a significant predictor of rates of growth in childrenís phonological awareness with students of teachers who had participated in the ELO grant demonstrating higher rates of growth than students of teachers not participating in the ELO grant. Data to support the provision of a Literacy Coach to early childhood educators relating to higher rates of literacy development were not found, however.

The findings of this study are offered within this document. In addition, limitations are highlighted and used as recommendations for future research exploring literacy skill acquisition in early childhood.