"I'm ready to start": An elementary school's transition from a basal to literature-based approach to reading instruction

M. Jeannette Myers-Gilbert, University of Pennsylvania


This ethnographic study describes the role (of a reading specialist as she facilitated one elementary school's transition from a basal to a literature-based approach to reading instruction. As the Reading Specialist, participant observer and teacher researcher, the action research methodologies of reflection-in-action , reflection-on-action and reflective conversation were used to study the daily interactions of teachers, students, parents and the administrator involved in this change process. Multiple sources of data, such as tape recordings of teacher and principal interviews, the school's daily newsletters, workshops on site and off site, classroom and small group participation, and observations were collected and analyzed over a period of three and one half years. Consequently, this study offers a detailed description of what the Reading Specialist did to assist the principal with facilitating change in this elementary school's reading instruction program. The Reading Specialist discovers that curricular change is dependent upon a strong administrative leader who develops a positive climate where time is provided for Reading Specialist and teacher collaboration, administrator and teacher collaboration, and teacher to teacher collaboration. This study also discovers that, when teachers are asked to share in the decision-making aspects of curricular innovation, the change process works; and, when teachers are not included in the dialogue about new programs, they resist making curricular changes.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Elementary education|Language arts

Recommended Citation

Myers-Gilbert, M. Jeannette, ""I'm ready to start": An elementary school's transition from a basal to literature-based approach to reading instruction" (1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9922716.