Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Edith L. Jorgensen


There is a pervasive reading crisis in the United States. Critics, including policymakers, educators, literacy scholars, and professional educational organizations have openly accused university teacher preparation programs of not preparing candidates to deliver effective reading instruction. This qualitative study used narrative inquiry to explore ways in which teacher candidates' participation in a research-based university clinical practicum contributed to their pedagogical understanding of literacy instruction. Conceptually this study was based on constructivism and the ideas of Dewey, Freire, Vygotsky, and Schon. Data collection included multiple interviews and observations to determine how teacher candidates' participation in clinical practicum affects their assumptions about literacy instruction. Interpretive initially emanated from inductive analysis involving a typological framework, and proceeded to an in-depth level of interpretation and data transformation and member-checking to verify participants' evolving stories. Results of the study indicated that the clinical experience imbued teacher candidates with the confidence, skills, and knowledge to affect the literate lives of all children. Further, interpretation of findings revealed that teaching a child to read gave preservice teachers opportunities to explore multiple teaching approaches for ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse learners, while working through paradigmatic barriers and preconceived beliefs. Ultimately, this study helped the teacher candidate realize that the work of an emissary for social change begins with a commitment to increase the quality of life for the children they teach through masterful and responsive teaching.