Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Richard Penny


In a Midwestern, urban, elementary school, a problem is teachers are struggling to support the instructional needs of the students with limited resources and training opportunities. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to examine the perspectives of reading teachers in Grades 3 to 5 about the challenges with meeting the instructional needs of the elementary students at the target site. Gagne’s theory of the conditions for learning and Tomlinson’s theory of differentiated instruction comprised the conceptual framework. Data for this study were collected from semistructured interviews with 10 teachers in Grades 3 to 5 who currently teach or had taught reading in the last 5 years and had at least 3 years of experience with teaching reading in Grades 3 to 5. Data were coded and organized into 10 themes: insufficient support for diverse students, students’ motivation affected their reading outcomes, parental support was insufficient, students struggled because of limited vocabulary development and background knowledge, challenges with providing differentiated instruction, the Benchmark Literacy program failed to meet the instructional needs of many of the students, the needs of low socioeconomic status contributed to the reading outcomes, teachers lacked the resources and training needed to deliver quality instruction, the pacing guide was not consistent with data-driven instruction, and teachers needed more time to collaborate with colleagues. The results of the study were that the teachers struggled to meet the instructional needs of the students at the local school. The findings revealed the need for professional development (PD) on research-based reading strategies for the teachers. The proposed PD on this topic could benefit the teachers’ instructional practice, resulting in the increased academic growth and development of students.