Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler School of Education


Patricia Heiselberg

Committee Member

Michaele G. Lemrow


Education, Reading instruction, Middle School, Perception, Reading, Students, Teach attitudes


A Study on Reading Achievement and Teachers’ Perceptions of Struggling Readers in a Middle School. Jewel M. Charles, 2014: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler School of Education. ERIC Descriptors: Reading, Teacher Attitudes, Middle School Students, Middle School Teachers

This study was designed to determine the perceptions of reading and nonreading teachers regarding why non-English-language learners and students without disabilities at the middle school level failed to make adequate yearly progress in reading. This study also uncovered strategies used by the teachers in the classroom that may or may not have related to those beliefs. An explanatory, sequential, mixed-methods design was used that involved collecting quantitative data first and then explaining the quantitative results with indepth qualitative data to determine a possible relationship between the two.

The study answered (a) what perceptions reading teachers held about why middle school students were unable to make adequate yearly progress in reading, (b) what perceptions math teachers (i.e., the content area least related to reading) held about why middle school students were unable to make adequate yearly progress in reading, (c) what perceptions science and social studies teachers (i.e., two content areas that rely heavily on reading) held about why middle school students were unable to make adequate yearly progress in reading, and (d) what reading strategies middle school teachers were using in the classroom and how the strategies used related to their beliefs.

The findings of the study showed that the participants believed that students failed to make adequate yearly progress in reading mainly because of parental habits at home (i.e., negative feelings toward reading) and student habits outside the classroom (i.e., not reading for fun or leisure). The interviews produced some reasons that were not included on the perception survey, such as students being lazy or unmotivated to read.

Most of the participants also agreed that all content-area teachers should be held responsible for student achievement and should do so by incorporating reading strategies in their instruction. The language-arts teachers, science teachers, and math teachers rated higher in their agreement than their math counterparts, but the math teachers still agreed more than disagreed with holding all content-area teachers accountable for students’ reading achievement.

The observations produced findings that showed teachers were using reading strategies to help students achieve in reading—therefore supporting their beliefs about content-area teachers’ accountability for students’ reading achievement. Five of the nine observed teachers displayed average to adequate use of strategies and each content-area teacher used a wide array of strategies during instruct.

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