Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Jayoung Choi

Committee Chair

Dr. Raynice Jean-Sigur

Second Committee Member

Dr. Daphne Hubbard-Berry


Content area teachers are expected to incorporate literacy strategies in their classrooms, despite the fact that all content area teachers do no attend professional learning communities to learn effective literacy strategies. This study is needed because many content area teachers lack the necessary knowledge and skills about literacy to be successful in the classroom.

The goal of this study was to impact 5th grade students’ literacy abilities by supporting teacher development by changing their planning, instruction, and assessment practice. This was done by implementing effective research-based strategies in vocabulary instruction, reading and comprehension instruction, writing instruction, and increasing parental involvement to support the home/school literacy connection. The study was a qualitative study so as to provide insight into the participants’ thoughts and feelings about content area literacy. The participants participated in a pre-interview, four professional learning sessions, and a post-interview. Data sources included interviews, lesson plans, and antidotal notes. SPSS Modeler Text Analytics was used to manage the qualitative data. One important finding of this study is the positive impact that professional learning communities have on teachers. It was revealed that teachers feel professional learning communities that focus on content area literacy better prepare them with implementing content literacy strategies in their classrooms. Another important finding this study revealed is that teachers feel that the lack of professional learning communities and time are barriers in successfully implementing content area literacy in their classrooms. The findings of the study have implications for effective professional development opportunities for elementary teachers on implementing content area literacy strategies. Findings from this study support the role of teacher leaders in elementary learning environments.