All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Nataliya Ivankova

Foster Watkins

Martha Barber

Margaret Rice

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


This qualitative multiple case study described the integration of the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) in three exemplary, yet very dissimilar elementary schools. Studies have shown that ARI has been successful in improving reading in Alabama schools. This study addressed the gap in the literature regarding exactly how this improvement has taken place. An urban school, a rural school, and a suburban school, which have reached an overall benchmark level of 90% or higher, were used for this study. Participants for the research included the principal, reading coach, and kindergarten through third grade teachers at each site. Data were collected in the form of interviews, observations, and documentary materials. The data analysis followed the procedures outlined by Stake (2006) and was conducted on two levels, within-cases and across cases. Within-case analysis revealed that while sub-themes varied by case, the themes that arose from all three cases included (a) outstanding leadership; (b) a research-based reading program; (c) stakeholder support; and (d) commitment of dedicated stakeholders. Cross-case analysis revealed the similarities and differences in the exemplary integration of ARI at all three schools. Narrative descriptions of the overarching themes created a picture of the successful integration of ARI strategies into the reading instruction of the schools’ curriculums. ii Through this qualitative study, school administrators, teachers, reading coaches, state department of education leaders, and law makers who fund the ARI may have a greater understanding of what it is that exemplary schools do differently. This study provides examples of pedagogical strategies and participants’ responses to the ARI reading reform and how this translates into instructional decision-making processes to promote successful student learning. Lessons learned from this study may be applied to less successful schools to improve pedagogical practices and student learning.

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