Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Rachael Helfrick

Second Advisor

Aly McDowell


Schools across the county are transitioning from balanced literacy to researched based reading instruction. This shift impacts not only instructional practices in reading, but the fundamental understanding of reading development. Teachers are on the frontline of this huge endeavor. This research examined five first grade teachers’ self-efficacy through this transformational change. One-on-one interviews were conducted to explore teachers’ perspectives as they make this shift. Through interpretative phenomenological analysis, (IPA) four themes emerged; lack of training, feelings of disconnect, teacher overwhelm, and passion for change. Recommendations for practice include clear and concise communications of the shifts that are necessary when moving away from balanced literacy to research-based reading instruction. Districts should work to ensure that all educators including school level leadership, receive in-depth professional development that includes linguistic and basic reading skill knowledge. Findings have indicated that peer models and cohorts should be leveraged to support teachers through this process.

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