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ERIC Number: ED558284
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 135
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-2239-1
The State of Professional Development for Teachers of Beginning Readers in Florida's Rural Schools
Helvenston, Susan S.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Florida
This study reviews the state of professional development (PD) for teachers of beginning readers in Florida's rural schools. Teachers of beginning readers need to have a deep understanding of language, of how the reading process develops, and of effective pedagogy in early literacy. Few teachers begin their careers with sufficient knowledge and skills to be effective in teaching children how to read. Prior research demonstrates the importance of high quality PD for helping teachers develop the necessary knowledge and skills and also provides frameworks for evaluating effectiveness of PD activities. This study was conducted using prior research and frameworks of PD as a foundation. The study used a mixed-mode survey technique that included an online survey, telephone contacts, and face-to-face interviews for non-responders. Public elementary schools (n = 118) that serve students in kindergarten, first, second, and third grades in all 28 of Florida's designated rural districts were invited to participate. A total of 84 schools responded to the survey making the total response rate 71.18%. Telephone calls to schools that volunteered to answer additional questions were made regarding trends in results. Results indicated the primary focus of PD for the 2012-2013 school year was on Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Although schools reported using effective PD delivery methods, many other features of PD activities were inadequate. In particular, far too little time was devoted to PD to produce sustainable changes, and the narrow focus on CCSS meant that teachers' needs for increased knowledge and skills about the reading process went unmet. The lack of collective participation was also noted, as was the limited use of technology to address the inherent difficulties in providing PD in rural areas. Follow-up interviews indicated that time and money were the most common barriers to effective PD implementation. Interviews also revealed that rural schools have inherent advantages (e.g., a strong sense of community and commitment) over urban and suburban schools. These advantages are perceived to mitigate challenges. The study's findings are discussed in relation to prior research. A discussion of the study's limitations, its implications for policy, practice, and future research, is also provided. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida