Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Margaret Constantino

Committee Member

Michael DiPaola

Committee Member

Amy Colley


Researchers have known for several years that when a child is reading below proficiency by the end of third grade, it is likely the child will continue to struggle learning to read through the child’s academic career (Dickinson & Porche, 2011; Wasik & Hindman, 2011). Yet, the problem of children falling below third grade reading proficiency continues. If teaching a child to read is a moral purpose, and it is essential for a child to read proficiently by the end of third grade, then literacy instruction in kindergarten through third grade is pivotal. In this case study, the researcher sought to illustrate the beliefs and literacy teaching practices of teacher participants within one public school district that provided training in Balanced Literacy components and required teachers to implement Balanced Literacy. Specific research questions explored teacher perceptions of self-efficacy and preparedness to implement Balanced Literacy. A purposive convenience sample was used to identify Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 teachers within the school district who taught literacy to their students in the 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. Individual interviews and classroom observations were transcribed and coded by discrete idea relative the study’s conceptual and theoretical frameworks: Fountas and Pinnell’s (1996) Balanced Literacy framework and Bandura’s (1997) sources of self-efficacy theories. Findings indicated teacher self-efficacy varied across Balanced Literacy components. Teachers felt most prepared to teach Word Study. Teachers benefited from modeling by the Reading Specialist, felt encouraged by feedback, and desired support in differentiating instruction. Word Study instruction had high alignment to the Balanced Literacy Model provided by the school district, and Guided Reading and Writing Workshop had low alignment. These findings validate the support the school district provides for teachers and directs school leaders in developing professional development needs to support stronger reading teachers.




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