Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Lisa M. Lopez, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.


early literacy skills, early numeracy skills, Latinos, learning behaviors, preschool, school readiness


This thesis examined the relationship between classroom quality, approaches-to-learning, and early academic skills among 384 Latino dual language learners (DLLs) enrolled in Florida Head Start programs. The children were living in low-income homes where Spanish was the primary language spoken by at least one parent. The study analyzed the extent to which approaches-to-learning behaviors moderate early literacy and numeracy skills in Head Start classrooms of varying quality. During the spring of their prek-4 year, the children were administered the English and Spanish Letter-Word Identification and Applied Problems subtests of the WJ-III (Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001) and the Batería III (Muñoz-Sandoval, Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2005) Tests of Achievement. General features of classroom quality were measured using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta, La Paro, & Hamre, 2008). Multilevel models indicated that there is a negative association between a classroom's level of emotional support and early English Literacy Skills, a positive association between Attention/Persistence Learning Behaviors and early English Literacy Skills, and a positive association between Competence Motivation Learning Behaviors and early English Numeracy Skills. Approaches-to-learning behaviors did not moderate the relationship between classroom quality and early academic skills. Results are consistent with previous research that has found that general measures of classroom quality may not capture the cultural and linguistic factors that influence a DLL's early academic skills. The current findings are consistent with previous literature on the positive influence of approaches-to-learning behaviors on early academic skills. Implications for practice include using culturally responsive teaching practices, creating a positive classroom environment, and supporting the development of Attention/Persistence and Competence Motivation Learning Behaviors. Implications for research include strengths-based research examining the promotive role of approaches-to-learning in DLL development and using culturally sensitive measures of classroom quality.