Addressing the Reading Achievement Gap in Nevada: An Exploration of Instructional Methods for Low SES and ELL Elementary Student Achievement

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Nesheim, Scheavonna
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Teachers in Nevada have faced the problem of providing consistent, effective literacy instruction to elementary students, which impacts overall student achievement; only 48.3% of students in Clark County, Nevada were proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) in the 2018–2019 school year. This problem was explored from a case study perspective using the context of four elementary schools in Nevada as a sample representation for the state academic gaps in literacy. The purpose of the study was to identify literacy instructional methods and strategies teachers deemed instrumental to support student achievement. The availability of professional development opportunities to develop literacy pedagogy and how to implement resources to increase achievement were discussed in the study. Individual interviews with teachers and references for establishing teaching practices to increase literacy achievement during college preparation programs were also included in the study. Answering the research questions required data collection through individual interviews, surveys, and an analysis of lesson plans provided by teachers in designated Title I schools. Using volunteer sampling, 18 pre-K through fifth-grade teachers from four elementary schools completed a survey, and some of those teachers shared lesson plan samples. Additionally, 15 pre-K through fifth-grade teachers from the four selected schools agreed to participate in an interview and shared their lesson plans. Thematic coding was used to analyze results. Several strategies teachers deemed essential to support low socioeconomic status (SES) and English Language Learners (ELL) student success in literacy were identified from results of this study, including teacher read-aloud, decoding instruction, and vocabulary instruction. Future researchers should focus on expanding knowledge for how to schedule and implement professional development to connect to teacher credential programs.
literacy , elementary education , reading , instruction , methods , Nevada