Publication Date

Summer 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Lemerise (Director), Carl Myers, and Elizabeth Jones

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


The literacy skills that students develop in preschool are an imperative aspect of school readiness and later academic success. Research has established that some students begin their educational experience at a disadvantage due to the low socioeconomic status (SES) of their family and, as a result, low levels of conversation between parents and children, restricted access to books, and low values placed on literacy. Past research supports that shared book reading is one of the most beneficial activities in which teachers can partake in order to optimize their students’ language development. The Head Start program is intended to alleviate the SES gap by providing a high quality education to preschool students. However, as measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), Head Start teachers are failing nationally in the area of Instructional Support, or implementing curriculum effectively in order to promote language and cognitive development. This study was designed to provide a book reading training to Head Start teachers in order to increase their level and frequency of Cognitively Challenging Talk with their students. Results found that Cognitively Challenging Talk increased as a result of the training as well as the amount of words the teacher utilized; Less Cognitively Demanding Talk and Managing Interaction variables, or classroom management aspects, were not significantly changed


Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Psychology | School Psychology