Keely Camden

Date of Graduation


Document Type



As the focus in special education shifts to a response to intervention model of early and intensive reading instruction, special emphasis is given to given to the explicit teaching of word structure knowledge in the various research-validated reading programs and reading strategies used in the classroom. The current research, a mixed-methods study, examined the word structure knowledge infused in four teacher preparation programs. Preservice teachers in general education and special education completed tests of word structure knowledge tests designed by Dr. Spear-Swerling. Additionally, course syllabi were analyzed and faculty interviewed regarding the nature and extent of specific word structure knowledge infused in courses. The results revealed a lack of significance between the word structure knowledge scores among special and general education candidates at the same institution and between special education candidates between different institutions. Statistical significance was only noted on the last sub-test, syllable types. Syllabi analysis and faculty interviews revealed a lack of explicit infusion of word structure knowledge in reading and special education courses. Many of the general education faculty at different institutions expressed a more whole language orientation while special education faculty discussed a more generalist approach to reading instruction.