Date of Conferral







Alan Seidman


While researchers have explored various aspects of the family volunteer presence in the classroom, little is known pertaining to the perceptions of teachers regarding this phenomenon, specifically as it relates to fifth grade student reading comprehension. The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' perceptions of family volunteers' presence and its influence on fifth grade student reading comprehension. The works of Patton and of Epstein informed this study. The research questions explored teachers' perception of benefits and challenges of the family volunteers' presence. Data were collected via interviews with 8 experienced fifth grade teachers who have worked with a family volunteers in the classroom for at least 1 school year. Interpretive phenomenological analysis of these data revealed that despite some challenges teachers perceived the family volunteer presence positively. Teachers indicated they wanted additional professional development regarding family volunteers and how to enhance relationships with them. Teachers expressed interest in orientations with family volunteers and suggested targeting older members of the families, perhaps grandparents, because these members were more available to be in the classrooms. They recommended more preparation for new teachers about working with classroom volunteers. These findings are relevant to positive social change as they can inform better practices and decisions regarding the use of family volunteers in the classroom to support student reading comprehension goals.

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