Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Yvette D. Hyter

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Clark

Third Advisor

Dr. Nickola Nelson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This project explored the uses of literacy artifacts in the dramatic play of preschool children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds who live in poverty in Kalamazoo County. The purpose of this 9-week study was to determine the impact of adult modeling on the frequency and quality of use of literacy artifacts during the dramatic play of at-risk preschoolers. Two Head Start classrooms received different types of intervention: (a) a literacy-enriched dramatic play area with adult modeling for 5 minutes at the start of each play period ( once per week); and (b) a literacy-enriched dramatic play area without adult modeling. Prior to and following a 7-week intervention period, children's literacy and non-literacy behaviors were documented through direct observation. Results from the study indicated that time-limited adult modeling has a significant impact on preschoolers' literacy behaviors during dramatic play activities. Qualitative analyses further revealed that quality of literacy material use increased in both classrooms; however, quality of use was more diverse in classroom A (materials and modeling) than classroom B (materials only).