Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name


Department of Curriculum


Previous research studies indicate that Whole Language instruction has a positive effect on students' reading performance; but not much is known about the effects of Whole Language practices on the attitudes of students toward recreational and academic reading. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Whole Language practices on the reading attitudes of first grade pupils in an urban school. It was hypothesized that there would be no significant difference in pre/post instruction reading attitudes of inner city first graders as measured by a standardized attitude inventory. Sixty-five first grade students in one school in the Atlanta Public School System (APS) participated in this study. The study was pre-experimental and employed a one-group pre-test/post-test design. Students were administered the Elementacy Reading Attitude Survey before the treatment - Whole Language instruction - began and immediately after treatment. The paired t test was used to test the hypothesis at the 0.05 level of confidence.

The null hypothesis was rejected: a significant difference was found in children's reading attitude as measured by the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey. A close reexamination of findings indicated that there was actually a decline in test results suggesting less student enthusiasm for recreational and academic reading; however, students maintained a positive attitude overall. These findings were interpreted to mean that while Whole Language practices do not significantly improve students' attitudes toward recreational or academic reading, they did not have a marked negative effect. Findings from this study have led to the following recommendations: (1) that the AP.S. develop a reading attitude inventory that reflects the reading experiences of its student population; (2) that further research be encouraged to help define students' reading preferences; and (3)that classroom teachers be made aware of the latest in Whole Language /Reading Attitude research.


Signature pages are on file with the graduate school. An archival copy of the document is available in the Archives Research Center.