Date Awarded

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Margaret E. Constantino

Committee Member

Denise Johnson

Committee Member

Michael F. DiPaola


Literacy is an equity issue of significant importance; students who do not read on grade level by the end of third grade are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend post-secondary education (Lesnick, Goerge, Smithgall, & Gwynne, 2010). Early interventions in Kindergarten through second grade can ameliorate problems which struggling readers experience (Torgesen, 2004). Teachers are poorly prepared to provide the type of intervention instruction necessary to assist these struggling students (Birman, Desimone, Porter, & Garet, 2000; Neuman & Cunningham, 2009). The purpose of this mixed-methods participatory action research study was to examine the effects of professional development designed on principles of effectiveness and factors influencing self-efficacy on student reading achievement and self-efficacy beliefs of participating teachers in K through second grade. A dependent sample t-test showed students of teachers participating in professional development demonstrated statistically significant increases in reading achievement, as measured by the PALs concept of word assessments and guided reading level. The Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy for Literacy Instruction (TSELI) instrument assessed teachers feelings of efficacy pre and post training; a dependent sample t-test demonstrated teachers experienced statistically significant increases in literacy self-efficacy. Interview data indicated that the verbal persuasion, vicarious and mastery experiences from the professional development impacted their feelings of self-efficacy. Recommendations include: implement future professional development based on the study model; train remaining teachers in the same manner; employ a part-time literacy supervisor to ensure fidelity going forward.



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