Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum

First Advisor

Dr. Lunetta Williams

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel L. Dinsmore

Third Advisor

Dr. Meghan Parkinson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert Kelly

Department Chair

Dr. Kim Cheek

College Dean

Dr. Jennifer Kane


There have been minimal studies on tutoring programs that pair elementary students with teenage tutors (Jacob et al., 2016). Innovative tutoring programs are important as student reading achievement has declined since the onset of COVID-19 and school systems face instructional staff shortages. Through the lens of Self Determination Theory, this study explored how tutor autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000) to choose instructional strategies and delivery methods influences student reading progress through one-to-one tutoring.

Centered in a constructivist world view, qualitative research methodology was used to explore the relationship between teenage tutors exercising autonomy when delivering a scripted reading curriculum and tutee reading achievement outcomes (Creswell, 2018). Observations, interviews, focus groups and document analysis were methods used in this study (Ravitch & Carl, 2019). The data collected in this study was triangulated to address ethical concerns. Procedures to maintain confidentiality were communicated to participants (Ravitch & Carl, 2019).

This study found that the ongoing training tutors received by certified instructional personnel influenced the level of autonomy exhibited by tutors to deliver reading tutoring. The themes found in this qualitative study reflected competence, autonomy, and relatedness tenets of Self Determination Theory.

The findings of this study may provide school districts insight on how to form successful tutoring partnerships and how to create work force opportunities for teenagers while simultaneously addressing limited instructional staff to provide one-to-one explicit reading intervention. Further relevant study is suggested to determine if the tutoring program influences teenage tutors to pursue a career in education.