Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
In response to fourth grade students' performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress reading test, states across the nation have enacted laws which stipulate third-grade students achieve reading proficiency in order to be promoted. With the passage of the South Carolina Read to Succeed Act 2014, school leaders in an urban school district implemented a balanced literacy framework to address 3rd grade students' low reading achievement. Approached from a constructivist framework, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to present 3rd grade teachers' perceptions of the balanced literacy framework with regard to students' reading achievement. Vygotsky's theories of zone of proximal development and scaffolding served as the framework guiding the study. For this study, 5 3rd-grade teachers from elementary schools within the same urban district in South Carolina participated in one-on-one interviews, observations, and a focus group. The data analysis consisted of coding to categorize participants' responses for emerging themes and summarize teacher perceptions. Three major themes emerged: (a) Implementing Balanced Literacy to Promote Reading Achievement, (b) Teachers' Perceptions Affected Reading Outcomes, and (c) Challenges to Balanced Literacy and Professional Development Needs. Subsequently, a 3-day professional development was developed for 3rd-grade teachers that focused on effectively implementing the balanced literacy framework to increase reading achievement. This study can promote social change by increasing teacher expertise in implementing the balanced literacy framework, increasing reading achievement, and positively impacting students' school success and college and career readiness.