Emily Suggs

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Suha Tamim


This action research study describes a problem of practice derived from the identification of students in fifth-grade who lack reading skills to be classified fluent readers as identified by Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills-Next Edition Oral Reading Fluency (DIBELS Next ORF). This problem of practice led to the development of an action research study, which examined the impact of fluency instruction that used readers theater texts on students’ overall fluency performance.

Through a convergent mixed methods design, the study addressed three research questions that explored the impact of using readers theater texts on students’ overall fluency performance, the perceptions of the student-participants, and the perceptions of the teacher-participant on the fluency intervention. Quantitative data collection instruments of pre-and post-tests and qualitative instruments of field notes, open-ended questionnaires, and a one-on-one semi-structured interview were used in this study.

The study revealed that the prescribed fluency intervention was statistically significant in improving students’ accuracy percentages, showed promising impacts on fluency rate, and had a positive effect on the way in which students’ view themselves as readers. The findings and supporting themes suggest implications for professional development at the research site to increase awareness of the impacts of fluency on students’ reading performance, to effectively analyze fluency data and make a plan of action to support struggling students within each teachers’ classroom, and to support teachers as they begin to use fluency instructional strategies and appropriate texts in their classrooms. Future research will determine if shorter readers theater texts are effective when used in the same type of intervention implemented in this action research study and will examine if students’ retell of the text becomes more sophisticated in nature as fluency rate and accuracy percentages increase.


© 2019, Emily Suggs