Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Committee Chair/Advisor

Switzer, Deborah M

Committee Member

Gillis , Victoria R

Committee Member

Headley , Kathy N

Committee Member

Vick , Bingham L


This research involves a mixed-methods case study of the reading instruction in a first grade class taught by Ms. Bing, a veteran of 29 years of first grade teaching. Analyses of classroom field notes and interviews of Ms. Bing provided insights into her methods of teaching reading, which focus largely on the use of song lyrics and chants instead of basal text. Occurring predominantly during the first semester of the school year, the study involved observations of reading instruction given to Ms. Bing's class, which initially numbered 23 students. While the school required all first grade teachers to employ Cunningham's Four Block Method of Literacy, Ms. Bing's instruction focused the Guided Reading Block of instruction on song lyrics and chants. Quantitative data were gathered from two sources, one involving assessment of students' attitudes toward reading and one focusing on reading achievement. The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS) was administered twice, once near the beginning of the school year and once near the middle, to Ms. Bing's class and also to the other five first grades in the school that served collectively as the control group, with a total of approximately 100 students in the control group. Ms. Bing administered the ERAS a third time to her students in May. The STAR Reading Test was administered regularly to the first graders in this school in conjunction with the Accelerated Reading Program, and scores from administrations of the first grade STAR Test from two consecutive school years provided data for comparison of the first grade students' reading achievement. Quantitative data analysis revealed a statistically significant improvement from September until May in reading attitude scores among Ms. Bing's students, while both experimental and control classes experienced a decline in reading attitude scores between September and January. Reading achievement scores increased at a significantly higher rate among Ms. Bing's students than they did among the other first grade classes during this same time span. Qualitative data analyses revealed that Ms. Bing's students were highly engaged during their reading and singing/chanting lessons and that their levels of self-efficacy increased with their successful experiences in singing, fingerpoint reading, embedded phonics, and reading.

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