Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Rene S. Parmar

Second Advisor

Richard Bernato

Third Advisor

Randall F. Clemens


Accepted strategies and practices for secondary-level reading instruction generally fall under two categories: intensive or extensive. Intensive reading instruction values depth over breadth of reading, and extensive reading instruction prioritizes volume of reading over reading closely in the belief that reading comprehension is dependent on fluency. In the suburban New York State school district where the study was conducted, secondary English language arts teachers generally utilized intensive reading instruction with canonical works of literature despite growing signs of student disengagement in the last several years.

Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle’s collaborative work, 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents (2018) offers a model of extensive workshop-based instruction that gives students choice in 75% of the texts they are assigned to read during the academic year. The present mixed-methods research study sought to validate the effectiveness of the model with empirical research. A quasi-experimental pretest posttest research approach supplemented by qualitative data on instructional context was used to answer the research questions. The independent variable was the method of teaching literature. Seven teachers used the Gallagher and Kittle (2018) model with students for one semester. Five additional teacher volunteers were elicited to make a control group yielding equitable student demographics. Student comprehension was measured with a leveled-reading assessment. The RSPS2 survey (Henk, Marinak and Melnick, 2012) was used to measure student self-perceptions. A total of 167 students’ assessment scores were evaluated through paired samples t-tests and repeated measures ANOVA. Qualitative analysis of teacher interviews and observation narratives was used to supplement the assessment data.

While the quantitative data did not yield statistically significant results in the examination of performance gains between the two groups for either assessment, substantial qualitative data revealed that teachers found implementation of the model to be successful in motivating students to read. While the qualitative results of the study appear to suggest that teachers believe the Gallagher & Kittle (2018) model is successful, future research is recommended to further evaluate its long-term impact on students’ comprehension and reader self-perceptions.