Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Tiffany DePriter


The purpose of this study was to understand the reasons, as perceived by elementary school teachers at the target Title I school, for low student achievement in reading. The conceptual framework that guided this study was the ecological theory that postulates that students' academic achievement is influenced by several subsystems that affect human growth and development: microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems, macrosystems, and chronosystems. Four research questions guided this study. The questions investigated teachers' perceptions of how effective classroom practices, differentiated instruction, professional development, and parental involvement influence student achievement in reading. Participants included 9 elementary school ELA teachers. Data collection included audiotaped interviews, classroom observations, and the examination of teacher lesson plans. Data were manually coded and organized into 7 themes. The themes were: back to basics, reading practice, classroom environment, meeting students' needs, professional development, communication, and home environment. The data indicated that the teacher participants believed that there is a need for increased parental involvement in reading. Parental involvement and the home environment were listed as two of the most important factors in student achievement in reading. Based on the research findings, a 3-day teacher facilitated family literacy program was developed. The goal of the program is to equip parents with resources and strategies to facilitate the reading achievement of their children at home. Increased parental involvement has the potential to positively affect student achievement in reading, which can bring about positive social change for families and teachers.