Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Roger H. Bruning

Date of this Version


Document Type



Sydik, K. (2017) You're getting it! How preschool teachers and students experience literacy tabletop games in the classroom. (Doctoral dissertation)


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 (Cognition, Learning, and Development), Under the Supervision of Professor Roger H. Bruning, Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2017


The purpose of this qualitative instrumental case study was to examine affordances of literacy tabletop games in a preschool classroom environment as well as the experiences of young children between the ages of 3 and 6 and teachers playing the games. The following themes emerged from the research: “That’s How Games Are” relating to views about games and play, “How The Teacher Does It”, relating to developmentally appropriate educational practice for playing games with preschool children, “A Way to Keep Them More Engaged”, relating to preschool children’s motivation while playing literacy games, “Things Kids Need to Know for Kindergarten”, relating to emergent literacy skills supported by the games, “Maybe She’s Thinking”, related to cognitive aspects of games and “A Lot of Teamwork and Effort” related to sociocultural considerations when playing literacy games with preschool children. Themes were identified from two forms of data collection: observations of classroom game play and interviews with preschool children and teachers. The study is intended to facilitate a broader understanding of play with literacy-oriented games in early childhood classrooms, inform best practices for classroom and other educational activities, and identify implications for future inquiry.