Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Billie V. Andersson


Effective implementation of early biliteracy instruction for heritage language learners is increasingly necessary in United States schools because of cultural diversity. Little is known about the optimal sequence of literacy instruction to emergent learners of English, along with Hebrew as a foreign language. The purpose of this study was to investigate preschool educators’ perceptions concerning simultaneous or sequential instructional strategies when teaching dual bidirectional alphabetic codes of English and Hebrew to English-speaking emergent literacy learners in Hebrew days schools. Sweller’s cognitive load theory guided this study. The research questions addressed perceptions concerning instructional strategies of preschool educators who teach early literacy to Hebrew-English learners. Data were collected using semistructured interviews from a purposeful sampling of 12 preschool teachers and 9 preschool coordinators each with a minimum of 5 years of Hebrew day school experience. Content analysis using open and pattern coding was used to analyze the data related to the conceptual framework. The results of this study indicated that Hebrew day school administrators determine the sequence of biliteracy instruction based on cultural philosophy and external factors. Instructional practices, staffing, and environment were perceived to influence biliteracy acquisition. Sequential biliteracy instruction was perceived more favorably than simultaneous instruction, which requires strong, focused support to be effective. It is recommended that school administrators of Hebrew day schools be presented with these results. These findings suggest that school administrators have the potential to create positive social change by improving curriculum design and biliteracy acquisition for heritage language learners.