Date of Award

Fall 12-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Bice

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy Vitale

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Abstract

Teaching literacy is a challenging process that incorporates the functional and structural aspects of language with the comprehension of its content. Educators are often unable to successfully identify the appropriate strategies that are best-suited to communicate these distinctive components of literacy to students. Students from backgrounds of low socio-economic status are more likely to face challenges in acquiring literacy due to the cultural exceptions attached to their community and to the lack of resources available to them in the home and in schools that have less funding. The research study seeks to investigate these issues through comparing and contrasting the outcomes of two programs designed to improve literacy among elementary school students. These programs, the Accelerated Reader (AR) and the Reading Counts (RC), are currently in use in the Riverview Gardens School District (RGSD) of North St. Louis County, Missouri. Students in the RGSD have historically demonstrated below-average literacy and reading comprehension on the standardized Missouri Assessment Program test, and students have historically come from households that are below the national average for economic security. This researcher hypothesized that at-risk students using AR supplemental reading assistance will have a greater rate of improvement in the reading analysis section of the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) when compared to at-risk students using RC supplemental reading assistance. The method selected for the study is a causal-comparative study. The design is a multistrand research experiment in which quantitative research data were collected from two distinct sample populations and the results contrasted for similarities and differences. Comparing and contrasting the gains in literacy between the two schools as demonstrated by the annual Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) test, the study can be used to recommend either the AR or the RC program for use in assisting students from at-risk populations to gain and attain literacy. The results suggest that both programs improved reading skills. Recommendations for future research include a larger and more diverse sample population.

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