Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Paul Michalec

Second Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Third Advisor

Kimberly Schmidt


Apprenticeship of observation, Complementary curriculum, Early childhood education, Literacy experiences, Narrative inquiry, Shadow curriculum


The purpose of this study was to investigate how personal literacy experiences during the early years of three preschool teachers impact the literacy experiences they provide for their students in their preschool classroom. Data was collected using the narrative inquiry method of qualitative research. Two in-depth, open-ended interviews were conducted with three preschool teachers at Hunter Early Learning Center. Questions were asked aiming to learn about the childhood literacy experiences of the teachers and about their approach to literacy as preschool teachers. They were also asked to create aesthetic representations at the end of each interview as an additional source of data.

Using the conceptual framework of the complementary curriculum to look at the nuances in the data to understand how the participants operationalize their early literacy experiences in their approach to literacy in their preschool classroom, it was found that positive early literacy experiences cultivated in the participants a joy of reading that has continued throughout their life. The participants work to inculcate in their students a joy of reading as well, but depending on the nature of their own early literacy experiences, the approach they take looks different. In looking at the data through the conceptual framework, it was also found that negative early literacy experiences created a shadow in the curriculum of some of the participants.

The findings of this study implicate that early literacy experiences are crucial in shaping the literacy approach of future teachers. The participant pool for this study was limited to the teachers at one private preschool. Suggestions for further research would include widening the participant pool to a more diverse population, culturally and economically.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Lisa McMillan


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

103 pgs


Early childhood education