Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The roles of reading specialists differ from campus to campus throughout the study site due to varied implementations of Response to Intervention (RTI). To ensure that students were receiving consistent interventions based on their needs, the site needed to examine how and when instructional services were delivered to struggling students, as well as the role of the reading specialist in the process. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions, experiences, and roles of reading specialists as the RTI framework was implemented at the elementary school level. This study was guided by Vygotsky's social constructivist learning theory, which holds that understanding is built through interactions, observations, and experiences. The research questions focused on the reading specialists' understanding of RTI, reading specialists' roles in RTI, challenges of implementing RTI, and professional development provided on RTI. Data were transcribed, categorized, open coded, and thematically analyzed. Member checks were used to strengthen the trustworthiness of the findings. Results revealed 5 major themes: understanding the RTI process, supporting struggling students, lack of funding and resources, collaboration/communication, and staff development. The findings can contribute to positive social change by leading administrators, instructional support teachers, and reading specialists to an increased understanding of the RTI process, and thereby improving RTI implementation procedures for struggling readers and subsequently increasing student achievement.