Tracy Klinger

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

Dr. Hillary Merk

LC Subjects

Children--Language; Educational evaluation; English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers; Kindergarten; Literacy


A staggering number of students begin school with lagging English language skills, which may impact a child’s future achievement in reading and writing. This challenge is disproportionately high for students living in poverty and/or students that are learning English as a second language. The purpose of this research is to measure the impact of an instructional model utilized for kindergarten students, Walk to Language, on English language development and on English language arts skills. This model is unique in that it simultaneously addresses the language development needs of English language learners (ELL) and non-ELL, many of which are students of color. An ex post facto quantitative research design was utilized to evaluate data from a Pacific Northwest school district pilot of the model. The study included 67 kindergarten students from a school participating in the pilot as a treatment group and 96 students from a control group within the district. Results indicated significantly higher scores for native English speaking students in language skills from the treatment group (p = .04). This finding supports the hypothesis that non-ELL students would benefit from language instruction. The control group made significantly higher growth on sentence dictation (p = .001) and on the English Language Proficiency Assessment 21 (ELPA 21) reading sub-scores (p = .04) than treatment students. These findings indicate that this early intervention model shows inconclusive results as to the potential to elevate the academic performance and growth levels of students from a variety of backgrounds. Additional results, opportunities for future study, and program recommendations are presented.


Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

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