Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathleen Bushman


Elementary teachers in a school district in a western state expressed concerns about the reading achievement of students with disabilities (SWDs). SWDs were not developing decoding, comprehension, and fluency skills to become proficient readers. Without mastering these skills, SWDs will experience diminished academic attainment in their school career. To address this problem, teachers in elementary learning centers (LCs) within the district implemented Reader's Theater (RT), an evidenced-based reading approach that incorporates repeated readings using drama-based activities. The purpose of this qualitative bounded case study was to explore elementary LC teachers' use and implementation of RT to improve reading performance with SWDs. Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences served as the conceptual framework for this study. A purposeful sample of 2 LC teachers who implemented RT with SWDs volunteered to participate in semistructured interviews. Qualitative data were analyzed thematically using open coding. The 2 LC teachers noted that RT was useful to increase SWDs' willingness to read, reading fluency, and student investment by integrating repeated reading opportunities in drama-based activities. Based on the research findings, a 3-day RT professional development workshop was developed to assist elementary LC teachers in the district to teach early reading skills to SWDs. This endeavor may contribute to positive social change by providing LC teachers with knowledge about RT that is useful in improving SWDs' fluency, decoding, and comprehension skills and, ultimately, enhancing their reading achievement.