Date of Award

Fall 9-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Robyne Elder

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert "Bo" Ricker

Third Advisor

Dr. Kelly Dickinson


This study investigated the relationship between flexible learning environments and student attitudes about reading. Flexible learning environments are spaces wherein learners can choose from different seating or standing options, locations within the learning space, and the size group with which to work. This allows the learner to find the environment that he or she learns best in. The researcher sought to understand if flexible learning environments and the autonomy to choose from the aforementioned criteria improved student attitudes about reading. To evaluate the relationship between flexible learning environments and student attitudes about reading, the researcher interviewed and surveyed teachers, and observed and surveyed fourth graders at a St. Louis County public elementary school. The fourthgrade classrooms consisted of varying degrees of established flexible learning environments, yet the students had experienced traditional style classrooms prior to fourth grade. Given this dynamic, these students had a solid perspective of both classroom styles and were able to accurately reflect on and articulate personal feelings about reading and their learning environments. Teachers surveyed and interviewed had, at some time in their career, designed traditional and/or flexible learning environments in their classrooms. The researcher utilized qualitative analysis to examine the relationship between flexible learning environments and a change in student attitudes about reading, investigated the relationship between teacher experience and the influence on perspectives regarding style preference of learning environments, and analyzed student iii perspectives about the relationship between their learning environments and their attitudes about reading. The results of this study indicated that in the study school, teachers’ professional experiences influenced classroom design, and student attitudes about reading were improved as a result of being provided opportunities to choose where and how to sit, and having the autonomy to choose the text they read during independent reading periods. The relationship was not solely related to the environmental features often found within a flexible learning environment.


Copyright 2017