Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Publishing companies' consultants plan and implement staff development programs in reading to meet inservice needs of school districts throughout the United States. The changes that are occurring in reading education are impacting the role of the classroom teacher. Inservice programs that were previously successful must now be evaluated to determine if they meet the current needs of teachers. Studies that assess student achievement indicate many students graduate from high school without basic skills essential for them to be productive members of society. The most basic of these skills is the ability to think. As a result of these studies there is an emphasis or, the direct teaching of thinking skills in all areas of the curriculum. Since reading is the curriculum area that involves the direct teaching of comprehension and thinking strategies, there is a need to develop reading inservice programs that provide teachers with specific information on teaching strategies that promote the development of higher order thinking skills. Participants in the study were thirty-six first through sixth grade teachers in four different elementary schools in Pennsylvania. Teachers in two of the schools were the experimental group and the others were identified as the comparison group. Prior to participating in the inservice program, teachers formulated questions for literature selections appropriate for the levels they are currently teaching. These questions were analyzed by three reading experts to determine if they promote the recall of information (explicit question) or if they required the students to use higher order thinking skills (implicit question). Teachers in the experimental group participated in an inservice program that was developed for the study. The emphasis of this program was on the use of strategies and questioning techniques to promote the development of higher order thinking skills during reading class. Teachers in the comparison group participated in the inservice program the publisher currently provides. The emphasis in this program was on the use of Houghton Mifflin Reading materials. Following the six hour inservice programs, participants again formulated questions for the literature selections. The reading experts analyzed these questions and labeled them as explicit or implicit. It was anticipated the participants would also be able to develop visual models of their thinking strategies as a part of this program. However, the six hours allotted for the program were not sufficient to improve their questioning techniques and develop the thinking model too. It is suggested that the visual models of teachers’ thinking be offered as a separate staff development program. The number of implicit questions developed after the inservice programs were compared with the number of implicit questions developed by first through third and fourth through sixth grade teachers in the experimental and comparison groups prior to the inservice program using an analysis of covariance. There was a significant difference in the experimental groups' abilities to develop questions that emphasized the use of higher order thinking skills when compared to those developed by the comparison groups of teachers. Since teachers in the experimental group were able to develop more implicit questions, this program was used as a model for the inservice program developed as a result of this study. The issue of evaluation of these questions was a concern to participants; therefore, evaluation of responses to implicit questions will also be addressed in the new inservice program. Prior to future inservice meetings, additional information on the needs of individual teachers should be obtained so that these programs can be modified to support the professional development of participants.

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