Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donald Wattam


Proficiency in literacy is paramount during a child's education. Lacking proficiency can have lasting effects. At both the state and local level, continuing gaps in student achievement in literacy have been documented. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to focus on kindergarten teachers and administrators' early literacy strategies, specifically current practices in early literacy skills and possible resources needed in early literacy to lessen the gap between White students and ethnic minority and students who qualify for free/reduced meals. The constructivist framework was the platform used to investigate teacher and administrator understanding of the 6 early literacy skills, their understanding of current literacy building instructional practices/strategies related to those skills, and possible needs for resources related to the six early literacy skills. The guiding question for this study was: Despite targeted instruction, dedicated time for daily literacy instruction, and tiered interventions, why does the literacy gap exist in kindergarten? A qualitative case study design was used for this project study with a convenience sample of five participants. Semistructured interviews were conducted and transcribed. Open coding was used to identify themes. Major themes emerged including instructional support, use of multimodal curriculums, strong teacher/student relationships, and consideration of issues outside the instruction and curriculum such as mental health of students. Recommendations were made in the form of a position paper to identify possible changes, modifications, and items to keep. A major implication when considering positive social change is the collaborative work from all stakeholders. With this position paper, the district can migrate from reactive strategies in third grade to proactive strategies in kindergarten to lessen the literacy gap between student subgroups.