Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Learning Disabilities


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Urban, Stanley


Kindergarten; Language experience approach in education; Learning disabled children--Education


Disability and Equity in Education


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a whole language instructional approach as a means of stimulating the emergent literacy development of kindergarten students determined to be "at risk." Meaningful growth on reliable observation surveys would indicate a possible correlation between the use of whole language instructional techniques and emergent literacy development.

A review of the literature indicates that young children acquire emergent literacy concepts and skills most efficaciously when they are immersed in a print-rich environment in which a variety of forms and functions are used in meaningful activities.

The study consisted of thirty students enrolled in a half-day kindergarten program. All students qualified for basic skills instruction based on their performance on an initial kindergarten screening device. Two groups of fifteen students each, evenly distributed by age and screening scores, were contrasted to determine if using alternative instructional methods would make a difference in their overall literacy development. The control group received direct instruction in isolated skills while the experimental group was instructed in a whole-language approach. The treatment program consisted of two twenty-minute sessions per week for twenty-five weeks,

Analysis of pre- and posttest results as measured on various subtests of M.M. Clay's Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement (1993) seems to indicate that an intensified effort to expose at risk children to reading and writing activities from a whole-language perspective can make literacy learning more meaningful for some children.