Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Moses Norman

Second Advisor

Dr. Barbara Hill

Third Advisor

Dr. Darrell Groves

Abstract

This study examines the effectiveness of two reading interventionists and their teaching methodologies with students in grades K-2. The two interventionists were selected because they are the two teachers responsible for reading intervention in the primary grades. The students were selected because they are being served by the interventionists and they are performing below proficient in reading. Many students come into Title I schools underperforming for a variety of reasons. These include a lack of literacy resources in their homes and also a lack of outside experiences. Many parents in this school setting are working poor. They hold jobs, but do not have a much time to spend with their child due to making ends meet financially. A case study approach was used to gather data. The researcher conducted three observations on each teacher for a total of six observations. All three grades levels (K-2) were observed in a pull out setting. The observer utilized an observation instrument and also an interview protocol to interview both teachers. Additionally, student achievement was analyzed using DIBELS Reading 3D data. The data was collected at the beginning of the year and the end of the year and compared to measure student reading growth. The researcher found that both teachers regardless of age, race, and experience were effective at raising student achievement with at risk students. There were no significant differences in the achievement between males and females, between students who received free and reduced lunch and those who did not, or among ethnicities. First grade students however made significantly higher gains than the other two grade levels in this study. Both teachers showed 100% growth according to Reading 3D scores. Additionally, they agreed that given autonomy and time to plan and build trust with regular education teachers they were more successful. They believe in the importance of accountability and providing supports to underachieving students. The conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that various teaching methodologies which include differentiation, a focus on the big five components of reading, and small teacher to student ratios were successful. Strong connections with students were seen from each teacher as they both knew their children and their strengths and weaknesses. This research suggests that given full autonomy to deliver instruction without a scripted program, both teachers were highly effective. Districts should use teachers, such as the ones in this study, to conduct professional development trainings on best practices in literacy. Leaders are encouraged to give teachers more autonomy in their classrooms. Intervention should be considered in higher grade levels to bridge gaps in reading.

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