Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Amy Seely Flint

Second Advisor

Dr. Caitlin Dooley

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura May

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lisa Lang


Reading Recovery has changed the academic paths of students around the world. Although Reading Recovery serves culturally and linguistically diverse students, Clay (2005b) does not directly address these students in her teaching procedures by detailing how teaching practices could be adapted for these students to capitalize on their first language or dialect and their home literacy experiences. The purpose of my study was to examine the professional development experiences of four Reading Recovery teachers who were working with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Specifically, I explored the ways the participating teachers’ beliefs and practices were impacted by their participation in a community of practice focused on developing culturally responsive teaching practices within the framework of Reading Recovery. The following research questions guided this qualitative inquiry: (1) How does participation in a professional development focused on theorizing and implementing culturally responsive teaching practices within the framework of Reading Recovery impact Reading Recovery teachers’ beliefs about teaching culturally and linguistically diverse Reading Recovery students? (2) How are Reading Recovery teachers’ instructional practices with culturally and linguistically diverse students impacted by their participation in professional development focused on learning about and incorporating students’ linguistic, social, and cultural knowledge into the Reading Recovery framework? The theoretical frameworks that informed my inquiry were sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1934/1986), communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002), and critical theory (Freire, 1970). Within critical theory, critical race theory (Ladson-Billings, 1998; Yosso, Villalpando, Bernal, & Solórzano, 2001) and culturally relevant pedagogy (Gay, 2010; Ladson-Billings, 1995a, 1995b; Nieto, 2013) further substantiated this study. Through constant comparative analysis (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser & Strauss, 1967) of data collected through pre- and post-interviews, bi-weekly professional development sessions and debriefings, reflective journals, and artifacts, the teachers’ beliefs about their culturally and linguistically diverse students were explored as well as the way in which teachers’ instructional practices shifted.