Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Edward Kim

Abstract

Atlantic Avenue Elementary School (AAES) experienced reading achievement gaps between high-performing students and below-basic students within the school reading curriculum and balanced literacy framework. Vygotsky's theories of scaffolding and zone of proximal development served as the framework guiding this project, which used a qualitative case study design to explore reading teachers' perceptions of the ways in which they were addressing this reading achievement gap. Individual interviews, classroom observations, and lesson plans were the sources of the qualitative data collected from 6 reading teachers. The data were coded manually using emerging and constant-comparative strategies to identify common themes. The themes that emerged from the findings were the need for (a) balanced literacy instruction, (b) reading instruction to be taught at individual ability levels, (c) enrichment of students' background knowledge, (d) meaningful reading assessments to drive instruction, and

(e) sustainable and informative professional development (PD). A teacher-informed PD plan was developed in the form of a professional learning community. The potential positive social impact of success of this PD at AAES could benefit similar schools in the district, state, and nation.