Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Merilee McCurdy. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011

Copyright 2011 Stephanie L. Schmitz


The purpose of the current study is to investigate the effectiveness of the Road to the Code phonological awareness program on the development of at-risk, kindergarten students’ phonological awareness and early reading skills. Six kindergarten students were identified as experiencing difficulty in the area of phonological awareness and were divided into three groups. This study included three phases: a baseline phase, during which no instruction in the Road to the Code program was provided; an intervention phase, during which the Road to the Code program was implemented; and a maintenance phase. Student reading progress was monitored using standardized measures from the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and experimenter-developed measures. Program effectiveness was evaluated through a multiple baseline across participants design. Results indicated that participation in the Road to the Code program resulted in an increase in the students’ phonological awareness skills and that these gains maintained following the completion of the program. Additionally, students demonstrated the ability to generalize learned skills to progress monitoring measures containing novel content. Limitations of the study, implications for practice, and future research directions will also be discussed.

Adviser: Merilee McCurdy