A Descriptive Qualitative Multi-Case Study Exploring the Use of the Content-Area Reading Strategies Implemented by Beginning Secondary Teachers in a Rural Texas School District

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Spring 2021


Through a descriptive multiple-case study, the researcher explored the phenomenon of how beginning teachers in one rural, northeast Texas school district implement content-area reading strategies at the secondary level. What I Know-What I Want to Know-What I Learned (KWL), Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA), Survey-Question-Read-Recite-Review (SQ3R), anticipation guides, journals, graphic organizers, graphic notetaking, and annotating the text are the highlighted strategies in the study. A semi-structured interview protocol was used with three beginning secondary teachers who teach in a rural, northeast Texas school district. The researcher also used classroom observations and teacher lesson plans over a period of ten weeks to collect data. The researcher manually analyzed the data collected for patterns and themes. Themes indicated that teachers believe content-area reading strategies are an important element in their instruction. The teachers instructed their students to use reading strategies in class but did not provide direct instruction on how to use specific reading strategies as they pertained to the content-area. The range of methods used by the participants for content-area reading strategies was limited in scope. The researcher saw four direct implications related to the study data. They are staff development, pre-service teacher training, mentor/mentee relationships, and modeling. In-house professional development is a valuable opportunity to expose and train secondary teachers in instructional methods which provide them with the proper tools to use content area reading strategies effectively. New teachers are not being trained in methods which provide them the proper tools to use content area reading strategies effectively. No matter the route a teacher takes to becoming certified, they need to receive in-depth instruction in properly and effectively using content-area reading skills at the secondary level. The relationship between a mentor and the mentee is one of trust and growth. Mentors are an important source of information on best practices. Through modeling, observations, and conversations the mentor can instruct the mentee in how to successfully use content area literacy skills in the classroom. The mentors know the disciplinary terminology and how to best address the areas of literacy as it pertains to their specific discipline. Modeling of content-area reading strategies needs to be done on two levels. First, teachers need to see first-hand how the practice is used in a classroom setting. Viewing a presentation or listening to a presenter is not enough. Secondly, the teachers need to do the same for their students. the strategies need to be modeled and used repeatedly in class before the students can transfer the practice to their independent work. There are two considerations for future research. First, the participants in the study all worked with a veteran teacher in the creation of their lesson plans. A future study designed to compare the use of content-area reading strategies of beginning and veteran teachers who are in a mentor/mentee relationship would provide deeper insight and understanding of the impact of the veteran teachers’ beliefs on the beginning teachers’ use of content-area reading strategies in their classroom instruction. Secondly, the study participants all received their teaching certifications through different programs. A future study that explored the teachers’ pedagogical beliefs, training, and personal experiences would provide a multifaceted approach to understanding of how and why beginning teachers use content-area reading strategies.


Tami Morton

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Secondary Education