Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Panagos

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir


Alarming statistics report that middle school students are not reading as much as they should be reading. This study is an examination of two interventions that were incorporated into the regular curriculum to determine if these two reading interventions would encourage this researcher’s students to read more. The “Nation’s Report Card” (NAEP, 2010) showed that eighth graders were reading less on the 2009 exam than indicated by the score they received in 2007. This data intensifies the importance of encouraging reading in middle school students. To help the students in Blue Sky Middle School improve their reading habits, this researcher focused on how student interests, motivation, and engagement might change the reading habits of the students after the implementation of Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) and Peer Interests Reading Strategies (PIRS). A qualitative study was conducted to gather data from student pre and post surveys, a daily reading log and writing prompt, and a student focus group interview session. The researcher used a triangulated data approach to validate the findings of the surveys, the daily reading log and writing prompt, and the interview session in regards to student motivation, student interest, and student engagement. The results from this Midwest suburban school with 97% African-Americans students showed an improvement in the students’ reading habits. Of the two interventions implemented, the SSR intervention had the greatest impact on student interest, and motivation. The students communicated that SSR was their intervention of choice because it provided them with a sense of empowerment and a will to want to read. iii This researcher found SSR helped to improve the students’ reading habits overall. The researcher found the PIRS intervention to show a minimal change in the students’ reading habits. The results of the data also revealed that students will read when provided with reading material they believe mirrors their life. Critical factors determining which books the students will read include the availability of books that interest them in their school library and in their classrooms. Recommendations were made to district administrators, teachers, and the librarian to help improve the reading habits for middle school students.


Copyright 2012