Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




JoeAnn Hinrichs


Teaching students to read fluently has always been a national problem. At an elementary school in Louisiana, over 50% of second grade students earned at risk or at some risk ratings on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) test in reading fluency from 2007 to 2009. The purpose of this project study was to determine the professional learning needs of educators for teaching oral reading fluency by investigating 2 aspects of reading proficiency: educators' perceptions of additional skills needed to increase students' fluency by second grade, and the types of professional development educators believed would assist them in improving students' fluency skills. Theories of self-efficacy, behaviorism, and automaticity formed the theoretical framework for the study. A qualitative case study approach was used that included the responses of 4 participants to an open-ended researcher-developed questionnaire, lesson plans from participants, and the researcher's journal. Participants' written responses to the questionnaire were coded and themes determined, then triangulated with their lesson plans and the researcher's journal notes. Findings showed that teachers believed the components of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, along with recognition of the letters of the alphabet, whole word recognition strategies, and practice, should be the focus for professional learning for teachers' collaborative learning communities, teacher study groups, and workshops as the preferred methods. Contents of the project include best practices for educators to use to increase oral reading fluency at any age, which may effect positive change with the national problem of helping persons in our society become literate by reading fluently.