Date of Award

Spring 5-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Edward Duncanson, EdD

Second Advisor

Karen A. Burke, CSJ, EdD

Third Advisor

Janice M. Jordan, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD


This study investigated the impact of the LANGUAGE! literacy instruction on the reading comprehension and motivation to read of struggling middle school readers compared to that of a balanced literacy instruction. A convenience sample of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students (n=175) from a small, suburban middle school in Connecticut participated in the study. The sample was chosen from a population of reading and language arts students having scored in the lower 30th percentile (levels 1 and 2) of the reading portion of the Connecticut Mastery Test, as well as below goal (as defined by the district) on the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) assessment administered during the first month of the school year. The study was quasi-experimental pre- and post-test comparison group design using intact groups. Reading comprehension was measured using the DRP and motivation to read was assessed using the three subscales (value of reading, instruction of reading, and self concept of reader) of the Adolescent Motivation to Read Profile-Revised (AMRP-R). The scores of those students in the LANGUAGE! literacy curriculum (experimental) were compared to those of the students in the balanced literacy curriculum (comparison) to determine whether a statistical difference existed in the mean scores between the two groups after treatment.

An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to analyze the first research question concerning the impact of instructional program on reading comprehension. The results indicated that there was a significant difference in the reading comprehension scores of the two groups, with the balanced literacy participants scoring higher than those having received LANGUAGE! literacy. However, the effect size indicated only a marginal practical significance between the two groups. A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was used to analyze the mean scores on the three subscales of the AMRP-R. No statistically significant difference was observed for any of the variables between groups. The current study adds to the vast body of extant reading research by exploring the impact of balanced literacy instruction in comparison to LANGUAGE! literacy instruction, and though only nominal differences were observed for reading comprehension, follow-up investigations are merited.