Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Catherine Compton-Lilly


This Dissertation in Practice was written in response to a Problem of Practice in the high school in which I work. Close to 40% of the students in my school are Hispanic, and more than two thirds of these are English language learners. Like so many ELLs around the country, these students struggle to learn English while also keeping up with their other classes, which are not taught in their native language. Almost half of the ELLs at my school end up dropping out before graduating.

To address this problem, I undertook an action research study with the goal of improving the English reading comprehension of the ELLs at my school. To accomplish this goal, I worked with a small class of ESOL students for one semester, using literature circles. Literature circles, as described by Harvey Daniels (2002) and others, have been found to be an effective way to increase the English reading comprehension of ELLs, while respecting their culture and experiences.

This dissertation describes in detail the action research methodology used, the findings of my research, and the implications of my study.