Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Christian Z. Goering

Committee Member

Tom E. Smith

Second Committee Member

Janet Penner-Williams

Keywords

Education; Common Core State Standards; Elementary education; Informational text; Literacy; Teacher change

Abstract

The purpose of this descriptive case study was to discover how the newly implemented Common Core State Standards (CCSS) may have changed teachers' practices and philosophies regarding literacy instruction and to determine which teaching strategies were being presented in regard to informational text in the studied Kindergarten through second grade classrooms.

The research was conducted in five classrooms within one elementary school in the mid-Southern United States. The study design involved semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and teacher-reported lesson plans over a fourteen week data collection period. The aim of this research was to portray a vivid description of the implementation of CCSS and the subsequent changes to the teaching of literacy, with a focus on the increased use of informational text.

The outcome of this study was portrayed through a flowchart which emerged from the data using grounded theory during the final step of data analysis. The key findings from this study were discovered in two areas: (a) change in the classroom and (b) teachers and informational text. It was discovered that (a) teachers will shift their way of teaching if they perceive a positive change in their students, (b) in order to change, teachers must receive support and then provide specific supports to students, and (c) if teachers receive support but do not carry this over into student support, there will not be a noticeable change in their teaching. The result of this classroom change was that the teachers in this study acknowledged that children's curiosity enables teachers to choose informational text for instruction. This was recognized as the easiest part of the switch to CCSS. The teachers also discovered that young students can appropriately utilize informational text for learning and can then transfer that learning to other content areas.

It was anticipated that these authentic descriptions could further understandings on the process of teacher change and bring new insight for those schools considering an increased focus on informational text with young children. The findings confirmed theories presented in other research within the areas of teacher change and informational text interest to support the reading development in young children.

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