Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Ellen B. Scales

Abstract

This project study addressed the lack of inclusion of discipline literacy pedagogy in secondary classrooms in a rural school district in eastern North Carolina. Discipline literacy practices are recommended in the Common Core Standards for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. The district had implemented content area reading strategies across content areas, yet no significant progress in secondary studentsâ?? reading abilities had been demonstrated in statewide or national assessments. The conceptual framework that drove this study was disciplinary literacy, founded by the literacy research of Shanahan, Shanahan, and Zygouris-Coe. Within a qualitative case study method, this investigation of 8 secondary science teachersâ?? experiences teaching literacy during content instruction focused on practices of embedding science-specific reading strategies into lessons and factors that influence teachersâ?? decisions to participate in professional development to advance their learning of discipline-specific literacy methods. Data were collected and triangulated using a focus group and 8 individual interviews. Data from both methods were analyzed into codes and categories that developed into emergent themes. Findings from the focus group and individual interviews revealed that the science teachers possessed limited knowledge of science-specific reading strategies; used random, general literacy practices; and had completed inadequate professional development on science-related topics. Positive change may occur if district leaders support teachers in expanding their knowledge and application of discipline literacy strategies through participation in discipline literacy-focused professional development. The study may provide educators and researchers a deeper understanding of disciplinary literacy and increase research on the topic.