Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Deeb P. Kitchen

Committee Member

James Pann


The topic of this applied dissertation concerns parents from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds participation in support of literacy development of their preschool aged children. Evidence from the limited research on this topic suggested that some parents rely on the school to teach literacy to their children beginning in kindergarten. Consequently, little time and effort is dedicated to preschool narrative skills, letter knowledge (other than the ABC song), print awareness, phonological awareness, print motivation, and vocabulary.

Literacy development begins before children enter kindergarten. Kindergarten teachers expect children to be able to identify letters, their sounds, print their names. Children without these skills are at risk of falling behind in literacy learning and academic progress. Researchers have attempted to explain the relationship of speech sound correspondence, letter recognition, vocabulary, and the ability to read and communicate based on empirical and cognitive development research, but too little research has investigated the perspectives of economically disadvantaged parents of early learners about their own needs as they prepare their children to meet linguistic literacy challenges that lie ahead. Therefore, this applied hermeneutic phenomenological study will explore the beliefs, attitudes, and needs expressed by low SES parents as their preschool age children in a Head Start program in a suburban elementary school develop literacy skills.

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