Purdue University Graduate School
Kathleen A. Martin Dissertation.pdf (1011.87 kB)

How Does She Do That? An Exemplary Preschool Teacher Engaging Low-Income Children's Emergent Comprehension During Read-Aloud...In the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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posted on 2022-04-27, 13:18 authored by Kathleen A MartinKathleen A Martin


Although young children from low-income families may (or may not) have fewer quality literacy experiences at home before attending preschool or kindergarten, instruction from an exemplary teacher matters most for emergent comprehension development. This single, intrinsic case study describes how one exemplary teacher’s interactions with her low-income preschoolers promote their emergent comprehension during read-alouds, while on Zoom, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The unique context of the COVID-19 pandemic required interviews with the teacher and observations of read-alouds to be conducted via Zoom. Socio-cultural, social constructivist and semiotic theories framed this study’s design as a case study. Data analysis utilized Cambourne’s Model of Learning (Crouch & Cambourne, 2020) and Dooley & Matthews (2009) Model of Emergent Comprehension. Key findings were that the teacher formed positive relationships with and among her children, getting to know their families and cultural backgrounds. She used this knowledge along with what she observed during read-alouds to engage her students and personalize both academic and social-emotional instruction for them. Her young students’ responses during read-alouds evidenced how they constructed meaning by making connections between school- and home-based interactions.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Curriculum and Instruction

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Christina Wessel Powell

Additional Committee Member 2

Judith Lysaker

Additional Committee Member 3

JoAnn Phillion

Additional Committee Member 4

Toni Rogat