Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Gutknecht

Second Advisor

Dr. William Herrold

Third Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Wilburn


This study examined the relationship between first grade teachers' theoretical orientations toward reading and their classroom instructional practices. The study, which was conducted in Duval County Florida, used the Theoretical Orientation to Reading Profile (DeFord, 1985) and the Luciano Reading Instruction Practices Survey to gather self-reported data from the 102 study participants.

The sample teachers reported the frequency with which they used 25 specific instructional practices to assist students in learning to read. Ten percent of the sample teachers were observed by the researcher for thirty minutes and their instructional practices were documented on a checklist which corresponded to the Luciano survey. These observations found that 48% of the reported practices were present.

Raw scores on the TORP instrument indicated that 22.5% of the sample teachers held a phonics orientation towards reading, while 77.5% scored in the mid-range indicating an orientation which supported a mixed theoretical orientation of decoding skills and whole language approaches. No significant mean difference was found when teachers' survey scores were used to categorize them as supporters of either phonics, whole language, or a combination approach to reading instruction. However, a correlation of r = .46 (p < .0005) was found between raw scores on the two instruments indicating a moderate relationship among teachers' theoretical beliefs and instructional practices.

Descriptive statistics of instructional practices obtained from the Luciano Reading Instruction Practices Survey (RIPS) indicated that 72% of all the sample teachers allowed students time for freereading on a daily basis, 66% reported emphasizing letter sounds, 59% reported using consumable skills workbooks every day, and 56% of the study teachers activated student interest prior to each reading experience.

RIPS scores also indicated that sample teachers who used a combination of phonics and whole language practices comprised the largest group (46%) in the study. Nearly 1 0% of the sample used a majority of phonics-based practices and 44% reported utilizing mostly whole language-type activities.

The results of this study provided insights as to the current methods being used to teach reading at the first grade level in a large urban school district and indicated moderate support as to a relationship between teachers' theoretical orientations and classroom practices.

Included in

Education Commons