Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Kara Lasater

Committee Member

Marcia Smith

Second Committee Member

Christy Smith


Implementation, Phonics, Program Evaluation


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the implementation of the Phonics First® program within one district to inform district level curriculum team decisions and program planning moving forward. As a level 4 Directed State Support district, the studied district was looking for ways to close the achievement gap and raise overall academic achievement in reading. To do so, the implementation of core reading program initiatives such as Phonics First® was assessed to determine how best to utilize and monitor the Phonics First® program to achieve the district’s desired outcomes. This study utilized a decision-oriented program evaluation using a mixed methods approach. A Phonics First® teacher survey, principal interviews, and archived records from fidelity walks were used to answer the following research questions:

• How do certified staff understand the science of reading as it relates to phonics?

• What perceptions, attitudes, and experiences influence the application of the science of reading as it relates to phonics?

• How is the Phonics First® program being implemented and monitored in each school?

The data were used to identify common themes regarding factors and barriers to implementation when moving from the science of reading (theory) to the delivery of a phonics program (practice) and to identify and understand building level processes for monitoring instruction and interventions to design and implement district level processes. Recommendations from this study include providing resources and support for administrators to grow as instructional leaders, creating a common district language for instruction and interventions, and implementing an effective professional development model.