All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lynn D Kirkland

Advisory Committee Members

Joseph Burns

Kay Emfinger

Maryann Manning

Kathleeen Martin

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


This qualitative multiple case study was undertaken to answer the following question: How did Reading Recovery ® (RR) teachers and former Reading Recovery teachers in a mid-sized rural school system in the southeastern United States describe the influences of their Reading Recovery training as it related to their current professional lives? Additional questions included: (1) How did training in Reading Recovery position the teacher as a reading expert within her school? (2) How did Reading Recovery change her approach to working with struggling readers? (3) How did the "behind the glass" experience impact the teacher's own teaching? (4) How did training affect the teacher's ability to discuss complex reading problems with co-workers? (5) How has Reading Recovery training influenced the teacher's professional goals and ambitions? (6) How has the passage of time since the teacher's training year altered her perception of the usefulness of her training? Two case studies were undertaken to answer these questions. Both studies involved face to face interviews, teacher observations, and electronic journal entries submitted by the participants. Case Study One looked at the professional lives of three currently active Reading Recovery teachers and revealed five themes: (1) Instructional empowerment, (2) Increased professional status, (3) Reliance on a community of learners, (4) Concern for the whole child, and (5) Lack of teaching/working time. Two years later, Case Study Two was initiated. At this time Reading Recovery had been discontinued in the county school system. A total of 12 former RR teachers were interviewed, observed on the job, and contributed to electronic journals. Five themes emerged from this study: (1) Instructional knowledge from theory, (2) Student benefits, (3) School and community benefits, (4) Professional benefits, and (5) Personal benefits. The overarching theme for both cases was - Power through Knowledge. Unanticipated findings included: self-imposed teacher accountability, professional courage, "knowledge envy" by non-RR individuals, and the transferability of Reading Recovery knowledge outward into the school and local community.

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