Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Fielding, Linda

Second Advisor

Bills, David

First Committee Member

Schmidt, Renita

Second Committee Member

Hamot, Gregory

Third Committee Member

Haack, Marcus


The purpose of this study was to examine the following: (a) What is the nature of Kindergarten and First grade teachers’ beliefs and self-reported practices regarding early literacy learning and teaching?; (b) What is the relationship between Kindergarten and First grade teachers’ beliefs and self-reported early literacy teaching practices?; and (c) How do teachers’ educational backgrounds and professional development experiences explain the relationship between their beliefs and practices in early literacy learning and teaching? Three instruments were administered to the participants in this study. The Theoretical Orientation to Reading Profile (Deford, 1979), hereafter known as the TORP, was used to measure teachers’ pedagogical beliefs about the teaching and learning of reading. The Preschool Literacy Practices Checklist (Burgess, Lundgren, Lloyd, & Pianta, 2001), hereafter known as the PLPC, was used to measure teachers’ self-reported literacy instructional practices. A survey questionnaire I designed was used to obtain descriptive information about the participants in this study. Data were collected from forty-seven in-service Kindergarten and First grade teachers. The results of the TORP data from this study indicated that 6% of the participants represented the decoding perspective, 92% represented the skills perspective and 2% represented the wholistic perspective. Correlation scores from the PLPC regarding teachers’ beliefs and practices show there was no significant correlation between teachers’ beliefs and self-reported practices in the classroom. Additionally, the findings showed there is a relationship between teachers’ educational backgrounds and the reading literacy practices teachers view as important or essential in the early grades such as understanding the meaning of words, recognizing basic sight words, understanding concepts of print, and identifying the elements of a story.

Public Abstract

This study examines Kindergarten and First grade teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding early literacy. Additionally, this study explores the relationship between Kindergarten and First grade teachers’ beliefs, practices, and professional development experiences. The study’s findings may be used by teachers, principals, teacher education faculty, and policymakers to facilitate a deeper understanding of the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their instructional practices in the classroom.


publicabstract, Early Literacy, Educational Background, Emergent Literacy, Professional Development, Teachers Beliefs, Teaching Practices


vii, 91 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 55-62).


Copyright 2015 Tiffany Jenine Armstead-Flowers

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