Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Rosemary A. Bamford

Second Committee Member

Kathleen Geher

Third Committee Member

Janice V. Kristo


Research suggests that whole-school early literacy program reform should take precedence in our schools (Pikulski, 1994; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Discovering how the components of a whole-school early literacy program interact to affect student achievement is the next step in planning for program development. Studies focusing on effective schools have not yet provided information about the impact of a whole-school program on student achievement or about the contribution of each the individual components to the whole program (Anderson & Pellicer, 1998; Creemers, 1997; Creemers & Reezigt, 1996; Wong & Meyer, 1997). However, descriptive studies spanning several decades conducted in effective schools have identified ten essential components for the implementation of complete and effective programs (Creemers & Reezigt, 1996; Levine & Lezotte, 1990; Purkey & Smith, 1983; Stringfield, Ross, & Smith, 1996; Wong & Meyer, 1997). For this study, a survey designed to measure the degree to which schools implement each of the whole-school components was used with a sample of 39 elementary school teams in Maine. This study examined the variation in implementation of the ten essential components of elementary literacy programs among schools in Maine using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Further, it measured the contribution of each of the ten components to the whole program using bivariate correlations and factor analysis. The effects of each of the components and socioeconomic status on student achievement were analyzed using multiple regression free-response analysis. Finally, how schools varied was examined using content analysis of free-response answers, frequency distribution of checklist-type responses, and comparison of demographic information. The results of ANOVA indicated that there was great variation in the implementation of the components of the early literacy programs among schools. The greatest variation was in the component measuring school standards. The components of program administration, professional development, and beliefs contributed the most to the whole literacy program. The multiple regression analyses showed that socioeconomic status was the only consistent predictor of student achievement. The final analyses pinpointed 22 of the 69 measured characteristics that were found exclusively in high-achieving schools but not in others.