Date of Award

Winter 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Raymond F. Morgan

Committee Member

Mark Fravel, Jr.

Committee Member

Sidney E. Vaughn, III

Committee Member

Rebecca S. Bowers

Committee Member

Donna B. Evans


This research examined two similar groups of first grade students and two different approaches to reading instruction within a whole language/literature based curriculum. The sample population for this research was drawn from four randomly assigned first grade classes attending an elementary school with urban characteristics. Teacher selection was based on results from the Theoretical Orientation to Reading Profile. Teachers in the experimental group implemented an approach that utilized a daily format for reading instruction developed by Dr. Patricia Cunningham. This approach involved strategies including phonics, writing, teacher directed, and self selected reading instruction. Teachers in the control group used the whole language philosophy as the guide for all classroom instruction. There were statistically significant results between the two groups and four subgroups of students with varying levels of ability. Research indicates that the Cunningham format was highly effective improving decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension scores of average and below average students.


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