Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Pamela Harrison


The local problem addressed in this study was the low reading achievement of high-poverty fourth-grade students in a small rural school in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The purpose of this instrumental case study was to examine the perceptions of the campus principal and teachers at a sampled high-poverty and high achieving elementary school to determine best practices for meeting literacy needs of high-poverty students. This knowledge is important because student success in reading achievement contributes to overall academic success. The neo-sociocultural conceptual paradigm of Wertsch, del Rio, and Alverez, which links cognitive and cultural learning processes, was used as the conceptual framework for the investigation. The research questions centered on educators' perspectives of micro and macro sociocultural practices that contribute to high-poverty literacy. Interviews were conducted with 9 purposefully selected teachers and the principal. Inductive and comparative data analysis was used to elicit 15 major themes identified as micro and macro literacy improvement practices for high-poverty students. These practices included high quality professional development, instructional equity, and professional coaching. Using study results, a training program was designed for literacy specialists on how to implement inclusive literacy coaching strategies through the use of equity-based practices. The project study may contribute to positive social change by providing educators with strategies for increasing high-poverty students' literacy success in elementary schools. Improved literacy may increase high-poverty students' graduation rates, college preparation, career readiness, and chances for upward social mobility.