Date of Award



© 2019 Dominic DePatsy

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Kimberly Roberts-Morandi

Third Advisor

Julie Olsen


The research problem of this study was teacher beliefs about early literacy pedagogy. Research over the past 15 years had made significant strides in studying the complex relationships between teacher beliefs and practices (Fang, 2006). Teacher beliefs play an important role in teachers’ work (Biesta, Prestly, and Robinson, 2015). The purpose of the study was to understand how kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about early literacy instruction influenced how they integrated direct instruction and whole language approaches into their teaching and support of language acquisition in the classroom. The subjects were fourteen kindergarten teachers (participants) who currently teach in three different elementary schools in a one public school district in Maine. The research design was qualitative and grounded in theoretical framework of Fielding, Kerr, and Rosier (2007, 1998). A highly structured interview was audio-recorded and then transcribed verbatim. The transcript was then studied for themes, subthemes, words, and insights. Six themes were identified around kindergarten teacher beliefs on balanced literacy and collective efficacy: developmentally appropriate, high expectations, decision making, guided reading, running records, parental outreach. The findings support the existing literature on teacher beliefs. Teachers have a strong decision-making process and belief in lesson planning, read alouds, guided reading, running records, and parental outreach, however, less decision making around scope and sequence and appropriateness of curriculum. Additionally, the findings suggest further research on teacher beliefs in grades one to three to demonstrate if the feedback aligns or was discrepant in some areas.


Ed.D. Dissertation