Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Health Sciences


Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Sharon Stewart

Second Advisor

Dr. Colleen Schneck


The acquisition of emergent literacy skills has become a prominent focus of early childhood education programs in recent years as research has demonstrated the significance of emergent literacy ability in the process of learning to read. The effectiveness of use of varied instructional techniques targeting the emergent literacy domains of phonological awareness, written language awareness, emergent writing, and oral language is well described in the literature. Consequently, educational service providers like speech-language pathologists are being called upon to assume roles in emergent literacy service provision. However, research has not fully explored the perceptions and knowledge speech-language pathologists possess of emergent literacy instructional practices.

This concurrent triangulation mixed methods study examined speech-language pathologists’ perceptions and knowledge of emergent literacy instructional practices. Three quantitative and two qualitative forms of data were collected and analyzed from a criterion and purposive sample of five educational speech-language pathologists.

Findings revealed speech-language pathologists possessed positive perceptions of emergent literacy instruction and endorsed use of numerous instructional techniques and intervention formats to target multiple emergent literacy skills. Results also indicated the presence of a narrow view of emergent literacy instruction as participants maintained a primary focus on oral language and phonological awareness in intervention sessions. Additionally, varied perspectives of speech-language pathologists’ role in emergent literacy instruction and numerous constraints to implementation of best practice in emergent literacy were identified.

Findings demonstrated strength in participants’ pedagogical knowledge of emergent literacy instructional techniques in oral language and phonological awareness and strength in content knowledge of phonological awareness. However, findings also revealed limitations in understanding as speech-language pathologists’ did not demonstrate thorough knowledge of instructional practices across all domains of emergent literacy. Additionally, varying degrees of emergent literacy knowledge among speech-language pathologists were noted.

Finally, comparison of quantitative and qualitative results of speech-language pathologists’ emergent literacy perceptions and knowledge revealed convergence of numerous findings.