The purpose of this study was to determine which literacy strategies were used by secondary social studies teachers who were identified by their principals as having strong literacy integration skills. In addition, teachers' beliefs and purposes for utilizing said literacy strategies were examined. It was hypothesized that participants would incorporate literacy strategies into their instruction, and would utilize explicit vocabulary instructional methods and graphic organizers most frequently. Using a mixed-methods approach, data were collected from five participants through three 50-minute behavioral observations apiece, followed by a 45-minute focus group discussion. Results indicated that these participants overwhelmingly utilized literacy strategies regularly (92% of the 150 observed intervals). Those most frequently used were the comprehension instruction methods of Question Answering and Collaborative Learning and Discussion, and the vocabulary instruction methods of Capacity Methods and Implicit Instruction. Five themes emerged during the focus group discussion: emerging beliefs about literacy, student ability, motivating and engaging students, literacy instruction methods and strategies, and challenges with implementing content area literacy. Implications of the findings and recommendations for future research is discussed, including the possible relationship between background experiences and the implementation of literacy strategies, particularly in the ways content area teachers' beliefs about student ability and motivation around literacy may be impacted.


Candace Raskin

First Committee Member

Melissa Krull

Second Committee Member

Maureen Prenn

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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