Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
English language learners (ELLs) spend a majority of their instructional time in mainstream classrooms with mainstream teachers. Reading is an area with which many ELLs are challenged when placed within mainstream classrooms. Scaffolding has been identified as one of the best teaching practices for helping students read. ELL students in a local elementary school were struggling, and school personnel implemented scaffolding in an effort to address student needs. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine how personnel in one diversely populated school employed scaffolding to accommodate ELLs. Vygotsky's social constructivist theory informed the study. Research questions were designed to elicit the teachers' perceptions related to the use of scaffolding for ELLs and to examine the impact scaffolding had on ELLs reading performance. The perceptions of 14 out of 15 participating teachers were investigated via focus group interviews that were transcribed. Observation data were gathered to determine teachers' use of particular strategies. Hatch's method for coding and categorical analysis was used. Emerging themes included background knowledge, comprehension and evaluation. Participating teachers felt scaffolding strategies were crucial for building a solid foundation for ELL academic success. Pre and posttest scores in reading of 105 ELLs were analyzed using a paired samples t test. There were statistically significant gains in 13 of 15 performance indicators over the 3-month cycle of instruction. Implications for social change include strategies for classroom teachers and their administrators concerning scaffolding reading instruction with ELLs in order to help these students increase their reading performance levels.