Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Trent Atkins

Commitee Members

Morgen Alwell, Matthew Schertz, Lucy Hart Paulson, Anisa Goforth


at-risk beginning reader, early intervention, early literacy, kindergarten


University of Montana


There is limited research investigating the individualized effects of early literacy interventions on kindergarten students who are most at risk for reading failure at school entry. In this study, a multiple baseline design was used to measure the effect of an early literacy intervention on the alphabet knowledge and phonological awareness of kindergarten students identified as most at risk. First, a two-stage screening process consisting of measures of alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and rapid automatic naming was employed to identify those students with the lowest overall skill level from the entire at-risk kindergarten population from one school building. The nine students with the lowest skill level were selected to receive more intensive intervention services than were typically offered to at-risk kindergarten students. The intervention consisted of both code-focused and meaning-focused components and was delivered daily for 25 minutes in small groups of three students for a total of 60 instructional sessions. The intervention was implemented at three different points in time, resulting in three baseline and three intervention phases. During baseline and intervention phases, two alphabet knowledge measures and one phonological awareness measure were repeatedly administered to all participants. Data was analyzed through systematic comparison of within and between phase patterns, such as performance level, trend, variability, non-overlap of data points, and immediacy of effect. Analysis was enhanced using the conservative dual criterion approach. Results indicated that an experimental effect was evident after the first and second introduction of the independent variable but not at time three, weakening the claim of a cause and effect relationship between the independent and dependent variables. Differences in performance level and trend in the data were evident for five students on letter name knowledge, six students on letter sound knowledge, and six students on first sound identification skills.



© Copyright 2014 Craig S. Buscher