Novice Teachers’ Perceptions of Theory Within the Practice of Teaching Reading

Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jessica Fuda-Daddio


Paramount to both academic success and success in life is the ability to read. Faced with the arduous task of teaching this process, teachers must be knowledgeable of reading theories and pedagogies. Although the theory-to-practice gap is a valid concern that has been researched in many professions, more needs to be known about how novice teachers who participated in online reading methods courses perceive their use of the content learned in their practice of teaching reading. In this qualitative multicase study, novice teachers’ perceptions of the role reading theory and pedagogy taught in online university reading methods courses played in their instructional practice of teaching reading to K–6 students were explored. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit seven early-grade teachers who shared their perceptions of using reading theory and pedagogy through semi structured interviews. Data analysis from the interviews revealed three major themes: knowledge of theory and pedagogy, preparedness to teach reading, and online knowledge sources. The participants were confident in their ability to teach reading but felt that the theory and pedagogy learned in online reading methods courses were irrelevant to their day-to-day practice. The consensus view was that practical classroom experiences and district curricula were more relevant. Further analysis revealed that a description of their practice aligned with evidence-based theories and pedagogies for teaching reading. This study may lead to positive social change by assisting teacher educators in ensuring reading methods courses solidify the connections between course content and practical application thus preparing novice teacher to be informed decision makers. Likewise, the results from this study could be used to provide professional development connected to district policies that support reading theories and pedagogies.

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