Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Michael Moore

Committee Member 1

Michael McKenna

Committee Member 2

Stephen Jenkins

Committee Member 3

John Weaver

Committee Member 3 Email



Many studies have been completed to identify the most Effective strategies used by successful teachers. Research has determined some of the most valuable classroom practices to increase student achievement in the areas of Reading and Writing. These studies and research tend to isolate grade levels and specific areas of Literacy Instruction to vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, or writing. Using the theoretical framework of Critical Theory and the instructional implications from John Dewey, Louise Rosenblatt, Paulo Freire, Lev Vygotsky, and M. M. Bahktin, this study proceeded with a concentration on Critical Literacy through student experiences, text interactions, cultural perspectives, individual interests, critical inquiry, and dialogue among students as well as texts. The purpose of this study was to identify instructional strategies and/or practices of Effective Literacy Teachers from multiple grade ranges. Once Effective teachers of literacy were identified by multiple quantitative and qualitative measures, interviews and observations were used to talk with teacher participants and identify specific methods of Literacy Instruction that were evident across Effective teachers of elementary, middle, and high school age ranges. Motivation and engagement of students, acknowledgement of student differences, and direct instruction of specific skills in literacy are all indicators of Effective instructional practices presented through research as well as denoted through observational and interview responses from teacher participants. Most of the participants indicated that they did not believe student success could be attributed to one strategy or a single instructional practice used regularly in their classrooms. They felt it was a combination of strategies that target student needs, experiences, and varying interest levels. When looking through the observations and interview responses, the variety and integration of strategies is supported by the frequency teachers discussed them as well as the numerous strategies observed in the classrooms. The teachers who participated in this study provided evidence of instructional strategies centered on student interests and lives from which to build meaningful opportunities and experiences that can help guide genuine learning.

Research Data and Supplementary Material