Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roberta Liebler; Pamela Warrick


Despite the current emphasis on differentiating instruction to accommodate individual student learning needs, most reading instruction is taught primarily in static small groups or whole group settings. However, the use of flexible reading groups for reading instruction allows students to be appropriately challenged and avoids labeling a student's reading readiness as stagnant. This study examines the relationship between flexible reading groups and reading achievement of 130 fifth grade students in one elementary school. The theoretical base for the research is grounded in the constructivist theory as supported by Vygotsky and Bruner. In this quasi-experimental quantitative research study, the effect of flexible reading groups on reading achievement was examined using a within-subject pretest and posttest single group design to compare gain scores using the Standardized Test of Achievement in Reading. The scores compared an eight week period of whole group instruction to an eight week period of flexible group instruction on the reading assessment. Data from the gain scores of the groups were statistically analyzed using a paired samples t test to determine whether or not the flexible reading groups had a positive effect on reading achievement. Statistical analysis yielded a statistically significant difference t(129) = 3.82, p < .05 which was interpreted to mean that flexible reading groups significantly enhanced student learning. This study will contribute to the most recent research on flexible grouping and reading instruction by focusing on the implementation of flexible reading groups and establishing data to support the research on flexible group instruction. This study contributes to social change by providing educators with knowledge on differentiated instruction through the implementation of flexible groups as it relates to reading achievement.