Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Kristina Brezicha

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Middleton

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Ogletree


Early literacy is the foundation for students’ academic (GPEE, 2019; Murphy, 2004) and future economic success (Carnevale et al., 2013; Frizzell et al., 2017; GPEE, 2019). However, a reading achievement gap continues to exist between low-income children, students of color, and their White and affluent peers (Au, 2007; Fiester, 2013; Hernandez, 2011; Salloum et al., 2017). Because third-grade reading proficiency has been linked to high school graduation (Fiester, 2013), the academic and employment success of students of color is determined by their ability to read. This qualitative, intrinsic case study will examine the literacy leadership practices of a Title I elementary principal in the southeastern United States. Through the lens of instructional leadership for literacy and culturally responsive school leadership for literacy, this study will examine how the principal (1) bolstered the outcomes of third-grade students of color and (2) formed partnerships with the parents and families of third-grade students of color to increase literacy outcomes. Data collection will entail school observations; principal, assistant principal, literacy or instructional coach, media specialist, and parent interviews; a teacher focus group; and document reviews. Data analysis will be conducted through an iterative process of reviewing, pattern-seeking, and regrouping (Stake, 1995). Methodological triangulation, member checking, and iterative questioning will confirm interpretations from the data collection process (Stake, 1995). The findings will report how the principal used literacy leadership practices to close the reading achievement gap for students of color in a Title I school.


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