Allison Izzo

Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Anne Walker


The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of nine elementary preservice teachers who took an early foundational literacy course. This qualitative phenomenological study was conducted at a teacher education program at a mid-sized Midwestern university. The results of this study indicate that the long-term impact the foundational literacy course had on preservice teachers’ subsequent literacy methods coursework and student teaching was minimal. Interviews, course reflection papers, and teaching artifacts support the implication that without opportunities for preservice teachers to integrate foundational literacy in their literacy methods courses and to observe teachers explicitly using foundational literacy knowledge in elementary classrooms, preservice teachers may not perceive foundational literacy knowledge as an essential component of effective literacy instruction.

There are three recommendations resulting from this study. Teacher education programs should integrate foundational literacy knowledge into all aspects of literacy education coursework and practical experiences. While a foundational literacy course provides preservice teachers with a strong foundation of what foundational literacy knowledge encompasses, teacher education programs should extend this knowledge by incorporating field experiences that require preservice teachers to apply foundational literacy knowledge to literacy instruction in an elementary classroom. It is recommended that teacher education programs ensure that all literacy coursework and related field experiences require preservice teachers to explicitly apply foundational literacy knowledge when designing and implementing instruction.