Julia Watters Wilson Dissertation Final Defense


The College of Education, Health and

Human Sciences

Announces the Final Examination of

Julia Watters Wilson

for the degree of

Doctor of Education

May 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm

405 Ball Hall, University of Memphis

Memphis, TN


Biographical Sketch

Bachelor of Science, Health and Human Performance, The University of Tennessee at Martin

Master of Science, Education, The University of Tennessee at Martin

Advisory Committee

Dr. Satomi Izumi-Taylor, Ph.D., Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, Committee chair

Dr. Cathy Meredith, Ed.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Dr. Duane Giannangelo, Ph.D., Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Dr. Vivian Morris, Ph. D., Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Major Field of Study

Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Period of Preparation: 2011 – 2015

Comprehensive Examination Passed: August, 2014

Teachers’ Perceptions of the Use of Music and Movement to Promote Phonemic and Phonological Awareness Instruction



Wilson, Julia Watters. Ed.D. The University of Memphis. August, 2015. Teachers’ Perceptions of the Use of Music and Movement to Promote Phonemic and Phonological Awareness Instruction. Major Professor: Satomi Izumi-Taylor, Ph.D.


Because the kindergarten school year is the time in which a literacy foundation is constructed, early literacy continues to receive a great deal of focus in Tennessee. Since kindergarten literary experiences predict literacy success in later grades, which impact students academically and socially, these foundational skills are essential during the kindergarten school year, especially phonemic and phonological awareness. Because kindergarten students are very young, the need exists to teach phonemic and phonological skills through effective strategies that are developmentally appropriate. The purpose of this study was to examine kindergarten teachers’ perceptions of the use of music and movement activities to promote phonemic and phonological awareness in kindergarten students. Research has indicated that teachers’ perceptions greatly influence all components of their teaching practice. This study employed qualitative methods including asynchronous online surveys, participant observation, field notes, lesson plans, photos taken by the teachers and me, and videos. The selected participants included six female kindergarten teachers from two elementary schools with varying educational backgrounds and teaching experiences. Three themes emerged from data analysis: differentiation, Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), and the importance of playful activities. Results of the study suggested that all teachers perceived music and movement activities to be necessary and helpful for teaching phonemic and phonological awareness. All six teachers perceived that establishing a supportive classroom environment, in terms of DAP, was necessary for effective instruction to occur. While all six teachers appeared to think that differentiation was important, not all teachers implemented differentiation for phonemic and phonological awareness instruction. Discrepancies seemed to exist between the teachers’ philosophies of teaching and their practices in the classroom. These teachers shared the perception that students should be offered playful activities and games, and their practices were reflective of this perception. To offer such instruction, teachers included music and movement activities, as well as enjoyable literacy centers for their students. Kindergarten teachers need more professional development regarding resources and strategies for supporting phonemic and phonological awareness with music and movement activities.

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