Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Andrea Wilson


The problem investigated in this study was that students at a rural elementary school in the midwestern region of the United States were not meeting achievement targets in reading on state standardized tests despite implementation of the district's evidence-based reading curriculum. With a conceptual framework based on Webb's depth-of-knowledge model and Piaget's sociocultural learning theory, the purpose of this single case study was to explore teachers' perceptions regarding the use of evidence-based teaching practices and how those practices influence students' reading skills. Using purposeful sampling to select licensed, experienced participants, the insights of 7 elementary reading teachers were collected through semistructured interviews and classroom observations of their instructional practices. Emergent themes were identified through open coding, and the findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through triangulation and member checking. The findings revealed that teachers appropriately implemented the district's curriculum and recognized the need for evidence-based reading practices. Teachers acknowledged that the district's curriculum did not work for all students and that specialized strategies and resources were needed to reach students who were struggling with reading. A professional development project was created to assist teachers with identifying, assessing, and implementing specialized evidence-based reading strategies and resources. This study has implications for positive social change by providing a structure for teachers to build a repertoire of evidence-based strategies and resources to offer all elementary students, including struggling readers, improved reading instruction, and higher reading achievement.