Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Reading--Language experience approach; Basal reading instruction; Educational innovations--Case studies;


This study presents an insider's view of change as one teacher, the author of this report, attempted to implement reading instruction based on a whole language philosophy in a skills-based school district. Reform critics have made a substantial call for the improvement of students' literacy skills and for teachers to take charge of change efforts. This study is an attempt to describe what happened when one teacher attempted to implement these recommended reforms.

This investigation followed qualitative research guidelines for a self-report case study, similar to those used by McPherson (1972) in Small Town Teacher. The setting was a fourth-grade classroom in a midwestern school district. Field notes of observations were recorded throughout the school year, documents were collected, and key participants were interviewed. Outside observers also gathered information during this study.

Results revealed the development and consequences of being overly idealistic as a change agent. Idealism fueled a desire to change but, when the change effort led to utopian goals, errors in judgement were made. Consequently, what was to be changed was perpetuated or worsened. The primary conclusion was that whole language advocates would improve their effectiveness as change agents by applying their beliefs to change processes within a school district as well as to the teaching of reading.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

David W. Moore, Coadvisor

Second Advisor

Sharon Arthur Moore, Coadvisor

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 185 pages)



File Format