Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Linda Gaughan

Committee Member

Shery Bennett

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


foundational reading skills, reading proficiency, teacher agency, teacher efficacy


Not all children enter school with the same skill set. Teachers of young children know this. Despite this, schools prescribe curriculum and pacing guides as well as assessments that may fit only a subset of students’ instructional levels. Teachers are left to determine the best way to meet the student and mandated requirements. Teachers from two elementary schools from a neighborhood area were interviewed about their perspectives and how they manage instructional expectations to help students learn grade level expectations.

The following research questions were addressed.1. How and why do teachers report adapting literacy instruction for students who are deficient in foundational reading skills? 2. How and why do teachers report adapting literacy instructional pacing of the prescribed district grade level literacy curriculum? 3. How do teachers evaluate the student data outcomes for evidence of the effectiveness of the adapted literacy instruction?

Findings provided an understanding of the reflective processes and decision-making actions used to address foundational reading skill deficits in primary classrooms and emphasized a teacher’s voice in literacy curriculum adaptations while using the prescribed curriculum.

Recommendations for future research are to consider replicating this study with a larger and more diverse sample. Additional recommendations are to investigate the impact of phonics instruction combined with writing instruction in third grade, whether a district provided adjusted pacing calendar for foundational reading skills would result in a reduction in lost writing instruction, and an increase in productivity during grade level PLC sessions.