Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Sunddip Aguilar


A small rural school district in the southwestern part of the United States required teachers to provide highly effective literacy instruction by implementing an evidence-based reading program called Journeys. With consistently low reading achievement, it was unclear whether teachers were implementing Journeys as prescribed. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore teacher implementation of the Journeys program for students at an elementary school in the district. The theoretical framework used to guide the study was Clay’s emergent literacy theory. The conceptual framework included 5 strands of the Journeys reading curriculum, which was derived from Clay’s theory. A modified formative program evaluation case study was conducted. Nine teachers who had taught reading and 2 administrators who supervised reading teachers were purposefully selected for semistructured interviews. Coding and analysis of interview data indicated that more than half of the teachers were not implementing Journeys with fidelity. Themes that emerged from the interviews were; inconsistent understanding of evidence-based literacy instruction, lack of collaborative planning, teacher’s use of an alternate phonics-based resource, focus on technology integration, lack of teacher buy-in, and lack of teacher training in implementation of the Journeys program. Based on findings, a 3-day professional development training was developed to provide training in implementing Journeys’ underlying evidence-based strategies. In regard to social change, the study findings and project could assist school leaders in determining guidelines for the implementation of evidence-based reading curricula. The study findings and project could assist school leaders and teachers in effective implementation of Journeys and providing quality literacy instruction to enhance student learning in the district.