Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Sue Robb


This is a qualitative research study that examines how the act of play influences the development of literacy skills. The research is formatted as a case study of a single five-year-old child from Western New York. Data were collected over the course of five weeks, with ten total observations of the focal child in his home environment. Data collection methods include interviews, observations of the focal child playing independently, observations of the focal child playing collaboratively, as well as the use of double entry journals and a cell phone for audio recordings. From the data, three major findings were discovered: a) play situations are created through imitation; b) self-directed speech is used during independent play; and c) imaginative play is promoted through social interaction with peers. Based on these major findings, conclusions and implications were made based on the way in which the focal child develops his literacy skills through various play interactions.

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