The focus of this study was to examine the effective instructional practices, philosophies, values, and beliefs of highly effective reading teachers, as evidenced by their students’ rate of reading growth over the course of one academic year across all demographic subgroups. Teacher instructional strategies, approaches to tier one and tier two instruction, planning, preparation, and philosophical beliefs about teaching were investigated. The primary goal of this study was to identify and examine teacher practices and characteristics which result in high reading growth, so as to benefit students. This qualitative grounded theory study used targeted teacher interviews and extensive coding methodologies to isolate the specific teacher practices and beliefs resulting in high student reading growth. Study results suggest that a teacher’s commitment to their students, ownership of student learning, and actionable instructional planning and design are the most critical elements necessary to promote the greatest reading growth in primary students. The findings of this study may be generalizable to suggest specific teacher characteristics, beliefs, values, and instructional strategies which impact students’ reading growth, ways in which school districts can embed professional development and additional educational opportunities for teachers to develop their reading pedagogy, and the call for a broader conversation about teacher quality as it relates to the preparation, hiring, and retention of the high quality teachers that our students deserve.
Date of Degree
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Program of Study
Unowsky, V. J. (2023). Instructional practices that promote reading growth in K-3 students: A qualitative study of highly effective reading teachers [Doctoral dissertation, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/1333/