Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



Kindergarten is a critical year, providing a foundation for children’s success in school. With a common set of standards, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), finalized and made available to states for adoption critical skills in numeracy and literacy will be uniformed from kindergarten through high school. Some children enter school with a sufficient foundation to support success in kindergarten and subsequent years. However, some children either because of lack of exposure during preschool years (e.g., Aikens & Barbarin, 2008; Hart & Risley, 1995; Schacter, 1979; Snow, Burns & Griffin, 1998) or because of language delays associated with developmental disabilities or delays (e.g., Catts, Adolf & Weismer, 2006; Gough & Tunmer, 1986; Kuhn & Stahl, 2003; Nation & Snowling, 1998; Yuill & Oakhill, 1991) are already far behind their peers upon entrance into kindergarten. The current study investigated the effects of presenting a multilevel approach to storybook reading on a broad range of language skills over 32 weeks of intervention for children at-risk for reading. Specifically, growth in overall language, semantics, syntax, letter awareness, and phonology was explored. Thirty-six at-risk kindergarten students comprised a group that either received intervention utilizing scaffolded talk across a continuum of increasingly more decentered meanings or represented a comparison group. The results of the study revealed that the intervention group made statistically significant gains in overall language, semantic, and syntax skills. A visual inspection of gain composite scores revealed that majority of the intervention groups increased near or at least one standard deviation of change from pre- to posttest; these gains were not evident in the comparison group. The result of the study indicated that utilizing scaffolded talk across a continuum of increasing more decentered meanings in kindergarten hold potential to address the language goals of the CCSS.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Norris, Janet