Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. MaryAnn Wangemann


Elementary students in the United States are expected to read proficiently in order to be successful on high-stakes assessments. Researchers have found that many elementary students lack the motivation to become frequent readers. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the reading motivational techniques used at a local district to encourage elementary students to become frequent readers. Framed by Skinner's operant conditioning theory and the focus on motivators and their effects on learning outcomes, the research questions explored teachers' perceptions of the motivators that increase student reading in the elementary grades. Data for the study were collected through individual interviews with a sample of 6 teachers who volunteered from the district's elementary schools. Open coding of the transcribed interview data and thematic analysis revealed 5 overarching themes: difficulties and challenges, preexisting perceptions, perceived effectiveness of used incentives/motivators, applicability to other grade levels, and factors critical to support reading development. The findings revealed certain recommended strategies such as free choice reading, increased parental involvement, and grade enhancement that may support intrinsic motivation compared to external motivation, which may be better supported through more immediate rewards. This study has the potential to promote social change by providing educators and other stakeholders at the local site with research findings on effective techniques to motivate elementary students to read more frequently.