Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Cathryn W. White


The professional development (PD) for teachers on research-based reading practices has been ineffective in a Title I urban school district in the southeastern United States. Further, students’ reading proficiency levels have not improved, as students have underperformed on standardized tests for the last 4 consecutive years. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate teacher perspectives of reading PD and the alignment of classroom strategies to support student learning in Title I reading classrooms, and whether these strategies aligned with the reading pedagogical strategies presented in PD and implemented in the classroom. Guided by Guskey’s Five Levels of PD, teacher perspectives of PD related to student success, teacher skill development, organizational support, and alignment with research-based reading strategies were investigated. A purposeful sampling of 10 third-grade reading teachers who attended PD were interviewed and observed in their classrooms. Archival document lesson plans were reviewed and triangulated. Data were coded and analyzed using inductive analysis. Findings from themes included the need for systemic PD, PD on research-based reading strategies, opportunities for peer collaboration, and classroom technical support following PD. Based on the findings, a 3-day PD project was developed for teachers. The findings from this study may lead to positive social change by providing research-based reading strategies to support teacher instruction and student skill development.

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