Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Judith Lysaker

Second Advisor

Janet Alsup

Committee Member 1

Susan Britsch

Committee Member 2

Panayota Mantzicopolous


This mixed methods dissertation is guided by a sociocultural framework and a pragmatist stance to contribute to early literacy scholarship about minority children. In particular, I explore the relationship between low socioeconomic status Puerto Rican children’s reading experience and their social cognition by: (1) assessing them through quantitative and qualitative measures that reveal their capacities in these areas at the end of their first grade year, and (2) documenting their reading experiences at home and at school through ethnographic qualitative methods. The analyses revealed significant positive correlations between the tests of reading and social understanding, a scarcity of conventional reading practices in the home, the predominance of a whole-class basal approach to reading in the classroom, and discrepant cross-methods findings regarding who qualifies as a reader and who has insights about the social world.