Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Edward Duncanson

Second Advisor

Gary Chesley

Third Advisor

Kevin Smith


Research states that more time and attention is needed for some students to acquire the necessary skills which allow them to become successful learners. Full-day kindergarten programs are desirable to ensure that all students have the necessary time to be successful. Due to lack of funds many school districts are unable to offer full-day kindergarten programs. The Kindergarten Buddy Program is a viable alternative for school systems seeking ways to provide opportunities for students who require extra support. The effectiveness of providing additional instruction in phonological awareness for at-risk learners needs to be explored to determine its impact on reading achievement. This information will be beneficial to school districts as they struggle to meet the needs of at-risk students in a fiscally responsible manner.

The purpose of this study was to determine if additional instruction in phonological awareness, the Kindergarten Buddy Program, had an effect on reading achievement for at-risk kindergarten students. Students’ reading achievement was analyzed to see if participation in the Kindergarten Buddy Program enabled them to reach grade level expectations. Using a convenience sample (N = 92), scores on the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test and the Kindergarten Inventory of Skills in the half-day extended Kindergarten Buddy Program were compared to students scores in half-day kindergarten without an extended program and in a ii full-day kindergarten without an extended program. An ANOVA was conducted to determine if there were differences in the post-test scores of the different groups. Differences over time were also analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA to determine if there was a significant difference in the means of the scores of the three groups as measured by the Inventory of Skills.

The study revealed that half-day Buddy students scored significantly higher than half-day kindergarten students on the letter and letter/sound subscores on the Gates MacGinitie. Scores comparing the Buddy Program to a full-day program were similar as were the half-day kindergarten and full-day programs. This suggested the Kindergarten Buddy Program made significant strides in improving letter and letter/sound abilities of the at-risk students and therefore, it was as effective as the full-day program in assisting at-risk students in reaching grade level expectations.