School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Constance Pearson


Phonemic Awareness, iPads, Early Childhood Education, Preschool, Emergent Literacy, Technology


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to describe how iPads may be used to develop phonemic awareness as part of emergent literacy skills acquisition for six preschool students at Little Lambs Christian Preschool (pseudonym) in central Tennessee. The theories guiding this study were the social constructivist theory, as it related to the use of play for the development of new skills, and the emergent literacy theory, which provided a framework for identifying and defining the skills children need to develop before learning to read. The following was the proposed central research question: How does the use of iPads in the preschool classroom affect young children’s development of phonemic awareness? This study used three methods of data collection – observations, document analysis, and interviews – to describe how children use iPads to acquire phonemic awareness skills in the preschool setting. Data analysis was conducted using patterns in the data that developed into themes. The goal was to gain insight into ways children develop phonemic awareness while using iPads and to enhance teachers’ understanding of how to use iPads in the early childhood education setting. The findings indicated that while students were able to use iPads to practice phonemic awareness, teachers had concerns surrounding the lack of human interaction when students engage with technology. Despite teacher concerns, student-participants engaged with each other and with the iPads in creative ways while practicing phonemic awareness.