Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donna Brackin


Reading continues to be a struggle for many students beyond primary ages. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a common approach in practice to improve reading outcomes, but it has not been researched with all populations. Studies on 3rd grade struggling readers are needed to ensure they receive appropriate support to become more successful readers. The theoretical foundations for this quantitative study included Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The research questions examined whether participating in RTI had a significant influence on 3rd grade students’ reading outcomes from the beginning compared to the end of the school year. A 1-group pretest-posttest design was used to compare reading scores from fall to spring for students who received RTI. Reading scores included overall reading outcomes and reading areas. Archival data were collected from 1 public elementary school in the Western United States. Struggling 3rd grade readers (n=91) were identified for each of the 4 years from 2015-2019. Struggling readers were identified with scores below the 30th percentile on a standardized assessment and participation in RTI for inclusion in the study. Fall and spring data were analyzed using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests to determine significant differences with p <0.05. Overall reading outcomes and reading areas were significant for medium effects sizes (0.509-0.599) except one reading area with a small effect size (0.446). Studying the effectiveness of RTI in meeting 3rd grade reading outcomes may contribute to positive social change by supporting educators and school administrators’ efforts to improve reading outcomes for struggling 3rd grade readers by providing support for effective, evidence-based reading intervention.