Prediction of Preservice Teachers' Knowledge and Reading of Children's Literature Within a Teacher Preparation Program


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A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Reading is essential for personal growth and social and economic success. Smith (2002) proposed that reading was the most important subject in American early schools, and explained that reading continues to be the most significant subject in schools throughout the United States. Educators need to consider ways to strengthen our educational system beginning with teacher preparation. Researchers have outlined the close interconnectivity between teacher preparation and reading preparation; however, relatively few researchers have asked questions about the involvement of reading preparation courses, reading-related demographics, and past reading experiences in relation to reading habits and knowledge, specifically of children’s literature. This quantitative study analyzed 12 specific demographic and reading-related variables in the prediction of preservice teachers’ knowledge and current reading habits of children’s literature in a teacher preparation program at a public, four-year, Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in South Texas. The correlational study employed bivariate and multivariate analyses on data collected from 168 undergraduate students enrolled in at least one reading course during the fall 2014 semester. Results of correlational analysis indicated that there were statistically significant associations for current reading habits of children’s literature on the basis of READ 3310—Principles and Practices of Early Reading Instruction, READ 3320—Principles and Practices of Reading Instruction, and READ 4380—Children’s and Adolescents’ Literature, and daily contact with children outside of school. There were statistically significant associations for knowledge of children’s literature based on READ 3320, READ 4380, and past reading experiences. Results of the regression analysis indicated daily contact with children outside of school, READ 4380, READ 3310, and READ 3320 were significantly correlated with current reading habits. READ 4380, READ 3320, and past reading experiences were the variables used in the prediction of knowledge of children’s literature. The results of the study have implications for teacher preparation programs, literacy scholars, in-service educators, preservice educators, and parents. Some recommendations for future research include: complete a comparison study with in-service teachers, replicate the study to include a larger number of participants, update the Children’s Literature Title Recognition Test to reflect in-class and out of class fiction and non-fiction titles, and add a qualitative aspect.
Educational Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction
College of Education and Human Development