Date of Award


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)


College of Education

Academic Year



Preschool teachers traditionally view young children’s written literacy development as a linear continuum that progresses from making scribbles, to lines, to letter strings, to invented, and finally, conventional spellings on paper. This project seeks to change preschool teachers’ perceptions of children’s writing development to encompass a more broadened definition of literacy. On the path from emergent to conventional writing, young children naturally negotiate and mediate a number of symbol systems in order to make sense of their worlds and create meaning as they come to understand the complexities and intricacies of the writing process. Exploration of these symbol systems is a crucial step for children to come to understand written language. Unfortunately, with a push for teaching basic skills in the preschool classroom in preparation for the demands of kindergarten, the focus in most classrooms does not lie in an appreciation for these multiple symbol systems. This project, professional development for preschool teachers, will equip educators with knowledge of young children’s complex meaning-making processes and with practical resources, methods, and ideas for the classroom that are sensitive to children’s diverse paths to literacy.