Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Cherie Gaines

Second Advisor

Julia Kirk

Third Advisor

Kristy Hutson


Illiteracy impacts the society of the United States socially, economically, physically and mentally. The inability to read has been linked to grim outcomes such as poverty, criminal activity, and poor health. By 2020, the term science of reading had gained traction in the educational realm rather than being isolated knowledge in the cognitive psychological research field. Even though research has shown the most effective methods for teaching reading, teachers in the United States were not aware of the convergent scientific evidence. School districts have the responsibility and moral imperative to provide effective professional development for elementary teachers to instruct students in reading. Elementary teachers should be equipped with knowledge and skills to teach students to read well the first time, when students were at their most malleable state. Researchers have studied professional development methods to increase teacher content knowledge; however, there was a lack of research concerning the demonstration classroom. The purpose of this study was to investigate elementary reading teachers’ perceptions of reading instruction in a specific professional development experience, the demonstration classroom, and teachers’ perceptions of their own learning concerning the science of reading instruction. Participants in this study included 13 elementary school teachers who visited an ELA demonstration classroom for professional development during the 2020 spring semester in a large school district made up of 51 elementary schools. This study highlighted the relationship between key features of effective professional development and teachers’ learning concerning instruction based on the science of reading.


Science of reading, Professional development, Demonstration classroom