Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education

Document Type



Teacher quality is one of the most significant factors contributing to student success, and Teacher Preparation Programs (TPPs) are traditionally responsible for teaching preservice teachers how to teach reading. Effective reading instruction is responsive, complex, and equitable. Acknowledgement of a disconnect between preparation programming and critical teacher knowledge for teachers of reading indicated a need for this exploratory mixed-methods study. The purpose of the current study, grounded by the theoretical framework of Sociocultural Theory, was to investigate what a select group of 21 preservice grades 1-3 elementary teachers were taught about teaching reading, preservice teachers’ theoretical orientations for teaching reading, and the knowledge of reading pedagogy preservice teachers bring with them into their first year of teaching from traditional TPPs in Louisiana. Data sources included DeFord’s Theoretical Orientation to Reading Profile and interviews. Survey responses of 21 participants from six TPPs were utilized to identify participants for interviews to gain a broad portrait of preservice preparation in Louisiana. Subsequently, interviews with four preservice teachers from three TPPs were conducted to gain a more nuanced understanding. Final themes included participants’ experiences and interactions, methods for teaching reading, theoretical orientations for teaching reading, and knowledge obtained. Findings indicated participants were prepared to teach reading from interactions with complex and dynamic experiences, settings, forces, and individuals, including political and educational contexts. Methods for teaching reading internalized by participants were methods that align with phonics and skills orientations. Implications include TPPs should consider student teaching residency placements and selection of mentor teachers to ensure that preservice teachers are exposed to responsive instruction. Most importantly, TPPs should consider they have the potential to provide teachers with tools to create more equitable learning in the best interest of students of all races, socio-economic status, English language proficiency, and levels of achievement.



Committee Chair

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary



Available for download on Friday, October 17, 2025