Date of Award

Fall 10-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. Beth Kania-Gosche

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom


Literacy is a national concern in the United States. Many students are graduating from high school across the U.S. lacking the skills needed to be a proficient reader. The lack of college readiness skills in reading causes these students to be placed in remedial classes on the collegiate level. School systems that recognize the high percentage of students entering high school who cannot read at their grade level can implement early interventions and provide professional development opportunities for teachers in order to increase reading achievement. Due to the culture created at the secondary level that held teachers responsible for teaching content, covering the mandated curriculum, and making adequate yearly progress, instructing students while utilizing best practices in reading instruction often was not a practical consideration. The traditional approach to literacy is not enough. It is time for teachers to acknowledge that literacy in middle and high school must be taught across all contents to lay the groundwork for literacy skills that students need to thrive in college. This study explored the effect of implementing Literature Circles in a secondary Communication Arts classroom on reading comprehension. While extensive research on Literature Circles exists, most of it focuses on their use at the elementary and middle school levels, with few studies investigating their implementation at the secondary level. However, the research establishes Literature Circles as a proven practice to assist students in making gains in reading skills. The sample population consisted of five 10th grade classes participating in Literature Circles and one 10th grade class as a control group. By implementing Literature Circles at the secondary level, the results of the data did not support the hypothesis that secondary students reading comprehension increased through participation in Literature Circles. While this study did not prove statistically any significant gains from participation in Literature Circles, observable gains occurred through the higher level of student questioning and students responding with evidence cited from the text. By implementing a classroom infrastructure that supported Literature Circles, students collaborated effectively about a text and used textual support to justify their responses to questions and to derive meaning from the text. The research from this study will add to the current body of knowledge regarding the use of Literature Circles at the secondary level.


Copyright 2013