Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Literacy acquisition does not begin with the onset of formal instruction in schools. Exposure to all aspects of literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language) in the home literacy environment before school-age can significantly impact an emergent learner's foundation of literacy. The purpose of this study was to examine how one emergent learner's language related to past experiences changed over time. This six-week naturalistic empirical action research study investigated the following research question: How do past experiences affect vocabulary use and sentence structure of a two-year-old? Throughout the study, naturally occurring data were collected every time the participant discussed a past event. A journal, a laptop, and a handheld recording device were used in order to record the data, which were then inputted into one or two charts (Appendix A and Appendix B) for analysis. The results of the data analysis were that adults and objects can int1uence an emergent learner's language development related to past events, including through the modeling of appropriate sentence structure as well as exposure to academic vocabulary that the learner might imitate. Implications for teachers are addressed in addition to recommendations for further research in this area.

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