By Cassandra McCallum

The School of Education invites you to attend a doctoral dissertation defense by Dustin Hofferman on “Increasing Reading Comprehension: Continuing Educator Training to Better Teach the Science of Reading for English Language Learners.”

Date: March 30, 2023
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: This will be a virtual dissertation defense via Zoom. Those interested in attending should contact phitsamay_uy@uml.edu to request access to the Zoom link.

Dissertation Chair: Phitsamay Uy, Ed.D., Associate Professor, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Dissertation Committee:

  • Rochelle Herring, Ed.D., Scholar Practitioner, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Cathy O'Connel, Ed.D., Scholar Practitioner, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell

The national reading level has long been a topic of contention within the United States. With a decline of standardized reading comprehension scores throughout the country, this study aims to
understand how Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) impact, if at all, the reading performance of one of our most vulnerable populations: English Language Learners (ELs). This mixed method study took part over a 10-week timeframe and utilized classroom observations, participant interviews, and initiated PLCs within a mid-sized school district with 7 participants. The participants in this study all work solely, or primarily, with fifth grade students. The results of this study suggest that PLCs initiate the conversation about high-level reading instruction for ELs; however, recommendations are needed for full implementation of these strategies that include follow through from the theory of specific reading strategies to actual implementation within the classroom. Additionally, this study found that discussing the proper implementation of coteaching enhanced the classroom environment for all students. The implications of this study are: 1) Educators must be held accountable for implementing research-based, district-approved reading strategies; 2) There needs to be a common goal discussed with all stakeholders prior to PLC work beginning; 3) All educators must buy in to the work of the PLC and commit to making uniformed changes within the district.