Master's Theses

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Date of Award

Spring 1970

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S)

Department

Education

Advisor

Hilda Groesbeck

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate reading instructional practices in representative Kansas kindergarten classrooms. Questionnaires were sent to 125 randomly selected Kansas kindergarten teachers. Eighty-three, or 66.4 per cent, responded by answering questions pertaining to their reading curriculum. The major findings revealed that even though a majority of teachers (57 per cent) indicated that their reading was taught mainly through play and informal learning, actually much formal instruction was being conducted. Seventy-six per cent indicated a “stepped up” program so that concepts were being introduced which had previously been reserved for the first grade. A majority of teachers carried on such formal activities as teaching word recognition, teaching rhyming words, teaching the letters of the alphabet, teaching children to listen for words that begin alike, using a reading workbook, and using duplicated worksheets. These activities were usually presented to the class as a group even though teachers indicated that all children were not ready. In the review of literature it was concluded that some kindergarten children “can” be taught to read. The academic advantage of an early start lessened as the child progressed through school and often disappeared completely. Educators were divided between those who felt that kindergartners should be given formal reading instruction and those who felt that they should not. With the added influence of psychiatrists, child psychologists, and pediatricians, the evidence seemed to indicate that formal reading should not be taught in the kindergarten. The majority who are not ready--and there is no reliable instrument to designate this group -- can be greatly harmed because of such pressures. There is no evidence to show that the child who is ready to read will be harmed by waiting an extra year, since he can choose things from the environment which will be challenging to him. A more refined technique to determine if children are ready to read is needed; the child's intelligence quotient and his mental age do not seem to be good indicators. It is strongly recommended that a good kindergarten program be developed that will fit the needs of all children. This cannot be a rigid program since each child is a unique individual and each school situation is different. Therefore, individualized instruction is necessary. This program should present an environment in which books and reading are noticeably enjoyable to the teacher. If the child develops a good attitude toward reading and develops a good concept of himself and his abilities, he will have made an important step in beginning to read.

Rights

Copyright 1970 Elouise Darlene Miller

Comments

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