Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Ellen Scales


Improving reading instruction for English language learner (ELL) students is a growing concern at a K-5 urban elementary school in a large city in a Midwest state. Classroom teachers are challenged in their knowledge and skill set to consistently and effectively integrate the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model in their classrooms to support ELL student reading success. The purpose of this case study was to investigate how elementary classroom teachers, as adult learners, evolved their pedagogy while implementing the SIOP model in the reading instruction of ELLs. The conceptual frameworks used in guiding this qualitative case study were drawn from Vygotsky's zone of proximal development and Knowles's theory of adult learning andragogy. Results were derived from pre-interview questionnaires and one-on-one, semistructured, virtual interviews with seven kindergarten through fifth grade classroom teachers. Data were coded and a thematic analysis was conducted. Themes included: teachers require a hands-on, active approach to evolving and adapting teacher pedagogy; accommodations and modifications for the 2020-2021 school year; effectively teaching vocabulary to ELL students; and SIOP is best practice for all students. A professional development project for teachers in the district was created based on the findings of this qualitative case study. There are positive social change implications, both locally and nationally, in the literacy field of English language teaching and learning by providing classroom teachers with additional professional development and enhanced resources that will benefit and meet the academic needs of their ELL students. This study makes an original contribution to research on teaching reading to ELLs at the local level. The results can be of value to other school districts with similar demographics.