Date of Award

Spring 5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Dana Thames

Committee Chair Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Rose Jones

Committee Member 2 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 3

Dr. Marilyn Foxworth

Committee Member 3 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 4

Dr. Anne Sylvest

Committee Member 4 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 5

Dr. Mary McNeese

Committee Member 5 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Abstract

The teacher is considered the most important factor in student success. With increased emphasis on research-based information through federal legislation, teachers struggle selecting credible methods and procedures among available reading instruction sources confounding the possibility of student achievement. Teacher self-knowledge, peer teachers, administrators, professional development, and the Internet are accessible sources for educators in regard to obtaining reading instruction information. Research in the field of education suggests teacher-practitioners procure and implement retrieved reading instruction information based on two factors: existing teacher beliefs regarding reading instruction and support of implementation of the method or practice within the school climate. This study investigated through quantitative and qualitative analyses if there is a significant difference in perceived reliable sources of reading instruction information among teacher-practitioners based on years of experience and grade level designation as supported by questionnaire comments and interview responses.

A 3 X 3 Factorial Multivariate of Analysis (MANOVA) reported no significant interaction in perceived reliable sources (peer teacher, professional development, the Internet, and school administrators) based on years of experience (0 – 8 years, 9 – 18 years, and 19 + years) and grade level designations (Kindergarten-First, Second-Third, and Fourth-Fifth). A main effect was reported for years, and a univariate follow-up for Internet. The finding of the main effect reported a difference in perceived reliability of the Internet for reading instruction for teacher-practitioners of 0 – 8 years of experience and 19 + years of experience. Teacher-practitioners with 19 + years of experience perceive the reliability of the Internet greater than teacher-practitioner with 0 – 8 years of experience. No significant difference was reported for teacher-practitioners with 9 – 18 years of experience regarding the perceived reliability of the Internet.

Qualitative findings support the quantitative outcome through comments provided on the questionnaire and interview statements. The use and availability of the Internet was reported in all interviews. The quantitative and qualitative findings of this study suggest the influx of the Internet has changed the perspectives of traditional approaches to how instructional information should be disseminated, and presents findings questioning whether other available sources investigated are presently effective in providing reading instruction knowledge in an effort to bridge teacher-practitioners acquisition of reading knowledge to implementation application. Suggestions regarding policy, practice, and further research directions of assisting teacher-practitioners and higher education with investigations for reading instruction through the Internet are presented.

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