Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Tom C. Cavanagh


This research study addressed the need for an evaluation of the effectiveness of teacher-written supplemental reading lesson plans for elementary students with significant disabilities. The participating elementary school implemented the supplemental kinesthetic-based reading program in the 2010-2011 school year in order to improve the reading test scores of these disabled students. The theories of Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences and Maria Montessori's individualized learning process guided this research. The research question focused on exploring the effectiveness of the lesson plans. Participants included 6 students and their parents, 3 teachers, and 1 principal. Closed- and open-ended survey responses were collected from each participant, and 3 classroom observations were completed. Through descriptive analysis of student assessment scores and closed-ended stakeholder survey questions, and inductive analysis of an open-ended stakeholder questionnaire and classroom observations, these themes emerged: (a) positive effects on lessons, (b) opportunities for refining the collaborative process, and (c) negative effects of collaboration. After further analysis and review of related literature, the program evaluation recommendations of this study included: (a) improving the content of each lesson through the use of lesson study and (b) developing long-term professional development in which teams of teachers collaboratively plan, research, and study their lesson delivery as a way to determine how students learn best. The evaluation and recommendations emerging from this study could lead to positive social change by emphasizing that it is vital for teachers of exceptional students to tailor their instructional delivery strategies to meet the specific reading instructional needs of children with significant disabilities.