School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Connie L McDonald

Primary Subject Area

Education, Early Childhood; Education, Elementary; Education, Reading


early literacy, emergent reading, oral communication, phonological awareness, reading, reading skill development




This descriptive research study, combining survey and correlation methods, described the perceptions and behaviors of kindergarten teachers in relation to phonological awareness usage in their classroom experience. Current research related to early literacy development acknowledges the significance of phonological awareness in emergent reading programs. The benefits of explicit phonological awareness instruction are well documented in reference to implications for current reading abilities and future academic achievements. The current study was developed to address a gap in current research associated with how kindergarten teachers perceive the importance of phonological awareness, and how this importance is demonstrated in their classroom experience. Participants for the study included kindergarten teachers from 85 elementary schools in a school district in Ontario. A survey was incorporated for use with the target population. Data attained from the research provided a description of the perceptions that kindergarten teachers adhere to regarding the significance and use of phonological awareness instruction. The kindergarten teachers perceived phonological awareness as significant in relation to being a reading skill taught in kindergarten, a prevention strategy for reading acquisition, and having a role in incidental, informal instruction. The data also provided a descriptive profile of the actual behaviors associated with phonological awareness exhibited by educators in the kindergarten classroom. The results indicated that some of the perceptions recorded by the respondents were not reflected in the behaviors occurring within the kindergarten classrooms. In addition, the behavior data was analyzed using a Spearman's coefficient correlation to investigate any relationships between phonological awareness behaviors and years of teaching experience. A potential relationship between years of teaching experience and the inclusion of specific phonological awareness instruction emerged from the findings. The descriptive profile attained from the data analysis was useful to attain a greater awareness of how theoretical understandings pertaining to phonological awareness relevance and usage are actually occurring in the kindergarten classroom context.

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