Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Barbara R. Schirmer


A rural school district identified a problem among high school content classrooms of insufficient attention to instruction aimed at enabling students to comprehend content area text material. Concerns about attention to reading instruction in content classrooms are also evident on the national level. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate the perspectives and reading instructional practices of secondary content area teachers in math, science, and history. The conceptual framework of self-efficacy guided the study, as the perspectives of the teachers revealed what motivated them to move beyond their pedagogical comfort zone to meet the needs all students. The research questions were focused on the perspectives of teachers toward providing reading instruction in content area classrooms, instructional strategies teachers viewed as supporting reading comprehension and approaches they identified for reducing the barriers to incorporating reading instruction. Data were collected from 4 purposefully selected teachers in Grades 9-12 through semistructured interviews and examination of lesson plans. Data analysis involved an inductive search of patterns and themes of teacher perspectives and instructional practices. The findings showed that the teachers wanted to advance their knowledge of content reading instruction through content specific professional development and continuous support from mentors. Results have the potential for positive social change through identifying professional development to assist teachers with improving reading comprehension within content area reading instruction.