Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Denise Weems-White

Abstract

The three tiered reading model and the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) are two initiatives being used to identify struggling readers of low socioeconomic status. While there is abundant information with statistical reports from various researchers, there is little research available as to what educators implementing DIBELS in the school environment perceive about the instrument, what it measures and what it fails to take into account. It is important to examine all aspects and views of an initiative being widely used across the nation to close the reading achievement gap. Educators working with students of low socioeconomic status will benefit from the insightfulness of this phenomenological qualitative research study investigating classroom teachers' perceptions of the two initiatives. Data were collected from K-3 teachers at three target schools located in a mid-southeastern state of the United States via surveys and interviews to establish teachers' perceptions of the strength and weakness of the two initiatives. The data were analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding. Participants indicated DIBELS should not be the only measure used to determine skill deficits in the struggling reader and that the two initiatives work well together to identify struggling readers and promote reading achievement in students of low socioeconomic status. Effectively educating students of low socioeconomic status will not only close the reading achievement gap but also break the generational poverty cycle by empowering the individual to be a productive member of society.