Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Cathryn White


In a Southern state at a rural high school, leadership staff implemented phonics-based strategies with 9th grade English teachers to improve students' Lexile reading scores. The absence of formative data related to program implementation left stakeholders without a clear understanding of the influence of the phonics-based strategies. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to obtain formative information from teachers to discern the perceived influence of the phonics-based strategies on reading. Dual coding theory was used to examine teachers' perceptions of the influence of phonics-based strategies on students' motivation, fluency, and self-efficacy. Data were collected using interviews with 9 purposefully selected English teachers who taught Grade 9 students and had at least 1 year of experience using the phonics-based strategies. Data were coded in NVivo and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results indicated that phonics-based strategies were perceived to benefit students' extrinsic motivation and fluency; conversely, teachers perceived the strategies had a limited effect on students' intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. Implementation of recommendations presented in a white paper based on these findings could result in positive social change by strengthening students' reading and promoting their academic success.