Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Boyd E. Dressler

Abstract

The growing population of English language learners (ELLs) in an urban school district in the southwest United States has maintained low achievement scores in the K-5 grades. Students who do not attain reading proficiency at least by the end of 3rd grade are at risk of continued academic failure through high school. Research shows that teachers' knowledge and preparedness to teach reading has an influence on student performance. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the readiness of mainstream classroom teachers to teach reading to ELLs. Guided by the sociocultural frameworks of Bruner and Vygotsky, this study explored teachers' perceptions about the adequacy of instructional resources they receive to improve reading instruction. A sample of 12 purposefully selected teachers from 10 different school districts, with at least 3 years of experience teaching ELLs, shared their responses via semistructured interviews. Data sorted through inductive and axial coding showed teachers expressed an inadequacy in preparing to teach ELLs and depended on their experience with ELLs to provide specific teaching strategies in a risk-free environment that would promote positive student outcomes. The participants' responses helped design a professional development initiative to address the need for more training specific for reading teachers of ELLs. Implications for positive social change include providing more training in reading instruction for teachers of ELLs that can result in increased ELL student reading achievement and greater academic success through high school.