Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Ekaterina Midgette

Second Advisor

Olivia G. Stewart


The fundamental significance of literacy achievement cannot be overstated. However, the 2022 National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) divulges alarming findings, with a mere 33 percent of the nation’s fourth graders performing at or above proficiency in reading (NAEP, 2022). Exploring the nexus of research-informed pedagogy and practice is imperative to disrupt this deleterious trajectory. This mixed-method study will examine how first-grade teachers select and use texts for beginning reading instruction with a critical lens on teachers' perceptions of decodable text to fully understand the complex intersection of intentionality and attitude when choosing texts for early reading instruction. This study will deploy a parallel convergent design to merge the results from quantifiable data, such as Likert-based survey results, and qualitative data, such as open-ended question responses, to understand better teachers’ perceptions and subsequent text selection. The findings from this study present implications for teachers, students, administrators, and policymakers and broaden the landscape to pave the way for future research that foregrounds the voices and perspectives of the teachers within a research-informed paradigm.