Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Richard Hammett


The acquisition of early childhood literacy skills is a predictor of academic success in elementary education. In a local school district, 22% of children entering kindergarten were assessed as having a gap in their reading readiness skills (RRS) based on their pre-K scores on the Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning (DIAL-4). The average kindergarten beginning-year difference on the Reading Baseline Inventory (RBI) between the students with a gap and students without a gap was 15 out of 100 points. The purpose of this quantitative research was to examine the change between fall and spring RBI scores of kindergarten students who entered school with a gap and those who entered without a gap to determine if the gap was closed by the end of the school year. The framework for this study was Vygotsky's constructivist theory of how children construct knowledge based on their early experiences. From a census sample of 118 students, 26 students were classified as having a gap in their DIAL-4 readiness scores. Fall pretest and spring posttest RBI scores served as the dependent variable. Within group t tests revealed the group identified as having a reading readiness gap increased their average RBI reading performance by 47% while the group identified as not having a gap increased by 26%, t(26) = -11.47, p < .001. However, the between groups t test comparing the groups' RBI difference scores was also significant, t(116) = -3.12, p = .002, indicating a closed but still significant gap (6.8 points) remaining. A white paper presents the results of the study and will contribute to positive social change by providing school leaders with evidence based practical suggestions to better serve their students. By working to close the reading gap early it will help ensure students have a better chance to reach their full potential for academic success.