Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Beth Doll

Date of this Version



Osborn, A. (2012). The relation between high-quality prekindergarten classroom environments and literacy outcomes for students learning English as a second language. PhD diss, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


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: Interdepartmental Area of Psychological Studies in Education (School Psychology), Under the Supervision of Professor Beth Doll. Lincoln, NE: May, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Allison Q. Osborn


U. S. students’ early English literacy skills are critical for their later reading and subsequent school success (e.g., Badian, 2000; Collins, 2010; Molfese et al., 2001; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Children’s literacy skills are stronger when they attend high-quality prekindergarten classrooms, especially classrooms with strong instructional supports (Hamre & Pianta, 2005). Moreover, some research has suggested that students who enter school with the weakest skills and with higher risk of academic difficulty (including students who speak English as a second language) benefit the most from high-quality instruction and interactions in early literacy and reading (Connor, Morrison, & Petrella, 2004; Downer et al., 2007; Hamre & Pianta, 2005; Hamre et al., 2010; Morrison & Connor, 2002). This study examined (a) the relation between classroom quality and English early literacy skills of prekindergarten students; (b) how this relation differs for English- and Spanish-speaking students; and (c) the relation between classroom quality and Spanish early literacy skills for Spanish-speaking students. Participants included 225 students within nine classrooms in a Midwestern, rural town. Data collected included domain scores of classroom quality (the CLASS Pre-K; Pianta et al., 2008), measures of students’ early language and literacy skills (the PPVT-III; Dunn & Dunn, 1997 and the PALS-PreK; Invernizzi et al., 2004), and measures of Spanish early literacy for Spanish-speaking students (WMLS-R; Woodcock, Munoz-Sandoval, Ruef, & Alvarado, 2005). Multilevel modeling analyses were used to examine the relations between classroom quality and students’ English and Spanish early language and literacy scores, including analyses with students’ home language (Spanish or English) as a moderator. Results showed a more positive relationship between the domains of classroom quality and English early literacy skills for Spanish-speaking students as compared to English-speaking students. The results were non-significant for the relation between classroom quality and prekindergarten students’ English literacy skills and for the relation between classroom quality and Spanish-speaking prekindergarten students’ Spanish early literacy skills. Future research directions and implications for practice are discussed.

Adviser: Beth Doll