Date of Award

Spring 2011

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Ruth Wharton-McDonald


This study examines preschool teachers' beliefs and practices related to emergent literacy learning for both children who are typically developing as well as those with identified disabilities. The sixty-eight teachers who worked in preschool programs that enrolled children with and without disabilities were asked to indicate levels of agreement with belief statements about emergent literacy, children with disabilities, and instruction. They were also asked to indicate what specific emergent literacy learning strategies and activities (if any) they used in their classrooms.

A new model of emergent literacy skills and understandings is used as a framework, indicating specific components of emergent literacy as well as the interactions between the components that lead to a greater understanding of literacy for young children.

Survey results indicate two significant findings. First, preschool teachers indicted high levels of agreement with, and examples of, the need to provide emergent literacy learning opportunities for all students in their classrooms. Second, although teachers agree that children with disabilities should have access to emergent literacy learning, they do not generally provide additional support or materials to increase or ensure that access.