Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-20-2019


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Connie M Moss

Committee Member

Rick McCown

Committee Member

Bernadette Nemeth


Reading Specialist, Education, Processing, Struggling Readers, Informational Text, Metacognition, Self-Efficacy, Teacher Beliefs, Specialized Literacy Professionals, Literacy Specialist


Children have a basic human right to read. It is the evolving work of the reading/literacy specialists to provide support and build confidence in readers struggling in all components of reading. The purpose of this study is to explore the beliefs of reading/literacy specialists regarding the processes that assist struggling readers with the comprehension of informational text. The methods used were designed to address the research question: What are the beliefs reading/literacy specialists hold regarding processes that assist struggling readers with the comprehension of informational text? Nineteen members of a professional learning group from an intermediate unit in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Reading Specialist Network Role-Alike Group (RSNRG), participated in the study. Data were collected via an online response form, that asked the participants to diagnose and make suggestions regarding the work of a 7th grade student who was challenged to summarize a short piece of informational text. Participants also responded to ten Likert-Scale questions regarding their professional backgrounds. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to analyze the data. Frequency counts were used to analyze, report, and interpret information from each demographic question. For the open-ended prompts, the general interpretive process of close reading was used to analyze the responses from the reading specialists. The following five themes emerged from the analyses: 1. Heavy Reliance on Basic Decoding Approaches to Reduce Cognitive Demands; 2. Reliance on Encoding Approaches That Are More Teacher-Involved Than Student-Involved; 3. Perceived Positive Self-Efficacy for Their Individual Knowledge and Impact as Reading Specialists; 4. Shared Belief that Reading/Literacy Specialists are Knowledgeable and Competent Professionals; 5. The Mechanics of Reading Foster Reading Comprehension More than the Metacognitive Processes Students Use to Comprehend Informational Text. The findings indicate a need for reading/literacy specialists to continue to collaborate, explore, and share strategies that foster metacognitive processes as important interventions for struggling learners. To address the findings, the study concludes with recommendations for reading specialists.