Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brenner, Devon G.

Committee Member

Lemley, Stephanie M.

Committee Member

Elder, Anastasia D.

Committee Member

Alley, Kathleen M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


In this qualitative study, I explored teacher beliefs and practices about struggling adolescent readers. I chose to study 3 middle school 7th- and 8th-grade English teachers based on purposeful and convenience sampling through principal recommendation. My data consisted of interviews, observations, and documents to understand what teachers believe about struggling adolescent readers and what teachers of struggling middle school students do during instruction. I created the interviews and observation protocols and analyzed the data using the How People Learn Framework (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005; National Research Council, 2000). Findings suggest (1) negative extrinsic motivation was used to boost student assessment performance, (2) the lack of foundational reading skills can cause problems through adolescence, (3) discussion strategies were used to assist struggling adolescent readers, (4) teachers had strong opinions about data walls, and (5) positive relationships with and between students were beneficial. These findings suggest implications for teachers and school leaders.



struggling readers||adolescents||How People Learn Theory||practices||beliefs