Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Early Childhood Education (B.S.Ed.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michelle Reidel


Motivating struggling students to read is a question considered by many general education reading teachers and special education teachers alike. Since student classroom experiences today differ greatly from classrooms of the past in terms of instructional practices and learning supports, scripted materials that seldom cater to student interest have often been promoted due to the pressure of standardized assessment. With little to no student engagement present in the classroom, it is up to the student to find the will to read or to the teacher to utilize alternative strategies in increasing student motivation (Cambria & Gunthrie, 2008). However, there is no one specific way in which to achieve this goal, and general education and special education teachers may differ in their methods used to motivate students. Therefore, through the use of focus group interview and observation data, eight fourth grade general education and special education teachers at an elementary school in southeast Georgia will discuss the techniques they use in their classrooms to motivate students. Using this data, the researcher will then determine if the strategies used are similar or differ across general education and special education classrooms. Moreover, the researcher will determine if the methods used by these teachers to motivate students are recommended by research. Not only will this study identify strategies that help motivate struggling readers in general education and special education classrooms, but a dialogue will also be opened up between the two groups to facilitate the exchange of resources and to bridge the gap between methodologies.