Spring 2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


Research has shown that content teachers’ use of literacy strategies in their instruction increases student achievement. Despite this evidence, literacy instruction in content classes is still sporadically used. The goal of this study was to investigate content teachers’ perspectives on the potential impact of literacy on middle school students and the factors that have the most impact on teachers implementing literacy strategies. To answer these questions, eight middle school teachers completed questionnaires and participated in focus group interviews. Results of the study indicated that teachers had positive perceptions of the importance of literacy in content classes yet did not feel confident in teaching literacy strategies. Teachers believed that literacy tasks need to be relevant to students’ lives. Teachers also expressed the need for differentiated professional development that is teacher-driven and focused on authentic and complex literacy tasks. Results of the study were used to provide recommendations for effective professional development for middle school teachers focused on successful implementation of content- literacy strategies.


Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department