Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Anthony Dralle

Abstract

In a suburban alternative school, educators of at-risk students reading below grade level often struggled to provide effective reading instruction. As a result, these students were likely to continue to experience academic difficulties, which could limit their career options and their opportunities to contribute to the betterment of society. This study addressed the gap between reading strategies teachers actually used in the classroom and the reading strategies they learned during professional development. The research questions focused on the instructional challenges teachers experienced while working with struggling readers in an alternative school setting. Mastery learning theory and the adult adragogical theory were used in this case study to explore experiences of 6 teachers concerning the use of reading strategies in an alternative middle school setting. Data were collected with interviews, observations, and from archival work samples. Findings revealed that for teachers serving in an alternative school setting, there was a need for additional strategy-related support for struggling readers, collaborative professional development with a focus on literacy, and teacher acquisition of vocabulary and comprehension strategies. The resulted project consists of a data-driven professional development program designed to help instructors teach reading strategies to assist struggling student readers. This project contributes to positive social change through a targeted implementation of instructional literacy practices that teachers in all content areas can use to help struggling readers in an alternative school settings to experience greater academic success.