Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

James Crosby

Abstract

High quality prekindergarten programs that provide students with core academic skills have been found to increase subsequent student reading achievement. However, students across the United States continue to show deficiencies in reading skills, a problem which may stem from a lack of participation in early childhood education. The study district offered a prekindergarten program, but the impact on later reading achievement was unknown. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effects of a prekindergarten program on the subsequent reading skills of kindergarten students. The constructivist learning theories of Whitehurst, Lonigan, Piaget, and Vygotsky provided foundation. Research questions focused on the difference in early literacy skills between kindergarteners who attended the district's public prekindergarten program (n = 64) with students who did not participate (n = 64). Scores on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) were compared using repeated measure analysis of variance at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year for those students who participated in a Pre-K program and those students who did not. Statistically significant findings revealed that participation in the public prekindergarten program yielded greater early literacy skills for kindergarteners when compared to those children who were not enrolled. The positive social change implications included providing local data on the reading achievement outcomes of students attending prekindergarten. The study findings will be useful to school administrators, teachers, and parents when making decisions on prekindergarten program availability and attendance.