Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education


Sudeck, Maria




Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Elementary Education and Teaching


The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate the phenomenon of successful primary classroom teachers' instruction, in the area of reading pedagogy. All children who are capable of reading must be taught how to read; such is the essential responsibility of American schooling. Moats (1999) describes reading as the most basic, yet critical responsibility of schooling. Haycock (1998), Marzano (2003), and Nye, Konstantopulos, and Hedges (2004) determined that the influence of an effective teacher has the biggest impact on student achievement, independent of anything else that happens in school. There is little research linking evidence of teacher perceptions, knowledge base, and practice to the discourse on how to best teach children to read. The result of this study on Reading Pedagogy in Today's Classroom should particularly impact, and potentially benefit, practitioners. In addition, the research will add to the literature on reading pedagogy. Four classroom teachers, who were identified as successful based on their student's Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading (STAR) scores, participated in this study. Semi-structured interviews, observations, and lesson plans were used to capture the essence of classroom teachers' perceptions, knowledge base, and practices of reading pedagogy. Results revealed several overarching themes: a background or certification in early childhood, specific phonics practices, continuity of practices across grade levels and schools, the use of guided reading, differentiated instruction, and the use of additional support staff in the classroom. This research is aimed at a broad audience as a review of research evidence on successful beginning reading instruction. The research provides successful methods and strategies for classroom teachers to implement. Such insight has the potential to raise student achievement. Threaded through these recommendations is the need for second order change with regard to instructional delivery models.