Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate

Abstract

The present action research study of kindergarten students, in a suburban public school classroom located in the midlands region of South Carolina, describes the ways in which a teacher-researcher developed a Structured Play Unit in her classroom that was designed to answer the following research question: How does the implementation of a Structured Play Unit impact early literacy skills (rhyming) on kindergarten students? Implemented in the Fall of 2017, data was collected over a four-week period. A verbal pre-test was given to the teacher-researcher’s kindergarten class which required students to identify pictures of rhyming words and point to their response, in order to determine the selected group to participate prior to the treatment. The student-participants, nine students known as the experimental group, received the treatment which was the implementation of structured play activities that consisted of playing rhyming games with pictures. A verbal post-test was administered to assess the effectiveness of the treatment on the early literacy skill of rhyming. Using an action research pre-experimental design known as a one-group pretest-posttest design, quantitative data was collected. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate the measure of central tendency for data analysis. A repeatedmeasures t test compared scores taken from the mean of the pre-test and post-test assessments. A teacher journal was also kept throughout the four-week data collection period to record observations from the Structured Play Unit and to polyangulate the quantitative data set. Findings include an increased ability among these nine children to identify pictured rhyming words. An action research plan includes ways in which kindergarten teachers can organize classrooms to enable students to engage in structured play that involves hands-on experiential learning vis-à-vis structured play.

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