Date of Conferral







Carl M. Valdez


There is evidence to suggest that preschool teachers do not provide phonemic awareness instruction that supports the early literacy of young children before entering kindergarten. This study examined the relationship between preschool teachers’ content knowledge in early literacy, education level, and years of teaching experience to emergent literacy assessment; and if differences in students’ emergent literacy assessment varied across preschool program settings. The theoretical foundation for this study was based on 2 theories: ecological systems and cognitive stage development. Eighty-eight preschool teachers employed at local Head Start, childcare, and pre-kindergarten programs located in the Commonwealth of Virginia participated in this study. An online teacher survey questionnaire, PhaKS was distributed to preschool teachers to assess their knowledge in phonemic awareness. Secondary data from Virginia’s kindergarten screening assessment, PALS-K was received to assess differences across preschool settings. Results from the multiple regression analysis indicated the findings were not significant; however, in conducting simple linear regression analyses, preschool teachers’ content knowledge in early literacy had a predictive relationship with students’ emergent literacy skills. Results from a one-way ANOVA found emergent literacy assessment, PALS-K scores for the pre-kindergarten group as significant from the Head Start group. The findings from this study promote positive social change by informing parents, teachers, and administrators about the value of teacher preparation in early literacy instruction. Bringing awareness to this issue may impact the instruction that young children receive in becoming emergent readers as they prepare for kindergarten and later school success.