Author(s)

Kacey Weber

Date Approved

2-24-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Reading Education

Department

Language, Literacy, and Special Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Browne, Susan

Subject(s)

Language arts (Elementary);Active learning

Disciplines

Elementary Education and Teaching

Abstract

The purpose of this research inquiry was to investigate what happens when first grade students that have not had the benefits of Preschool or Kindergarten education engage in active learning activities. The study was aimed at looking into how such activities can help with the transition into formal education, as well as with building the grounding literacy skills necessary for success in elementary education. The study was conducted in a first grade classroom with 31 students. The qualitative research paradigm was followed and data collected included student surveys, a Sociogram, student work, teacher observations, student interviews, and observational field notes. The classroom environment (in regards to setup, arrangement, and displays) as well as the effects of setting a safe and comfortable learning community were also importantly observed during this study. Findings indicate that: 1. Active learning had positive effects on student self-perception, 2. active learning had a positive impact on students' perception of literacy, 3. active learning strategies and activities helped improve literacy scores, and 4. active learning helped create an effective learning community.

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