The purpose of this study was to delve into the literacy instructional strategies of selected high-performing K-2 teachers in a Clark County, Nevada school district. The study assessed the efficacy of teachers using five core literacy components: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension for student achievement. High performing teachers were defined as consistently demonstrating student performance gains of 25% in at least one of the five core literacy components over a 3-year period. The research question for this study was: What instructional strategies are used by selected high-performing K-2 teachers who work with diverse populations that have demonstrated a minimum gain of 25% in reading as measured by AIMSweb to develop (a) phonemic awareness, (b) phonics, (c) fluency, (d) vocabulary, and (e) comprehension? The study used a qualitative method of data collection and analysis through in-depth teacher interviews, classroom observations, and district-wide data analysis. Interviews were open-ended and observations involved six teachers during their classroom literacy instructional time. Checklists were used to facilitate data collection during observations. Classroom pictures, teachers’ lesson plans, and AIMSweb data were used to support results. The findings revealed that the most successful literacy strategies for teaching the five components of literacy were: phonemic awareness (word manipulation, word play, and word sort), phonics (word study, sound/spelling, and decoding/encoding), fluency (choral reading, repeated timed reading, partner/student-adult reading, and reading connected text with corrective feedback), vocabulary (explicit instruction on word meaning/independent word learning, direct instruction on new vocabulary, and context clues), and comprehension (predicting, inferring, making connections, using graphic organizers, and activating/building on prior knowledge). In addition, study conclusions revealed that the most successful strategies for teaching K-2 literacy included teacher collaboration and planning; strategic use of individual, small, and whole grouping; and integrating technology. Several recommendations emerged from the study. Teachers need to be given ongoing professional development and resources for teaching the five component specific literacy strategies. Time needs to consistently be allotted for teachers to collaborate and plan for literacy instruction. Exploring diverse student populations, and their literacy acquisition needs, is vital to the education of youth. Placing emphasis on differentiated instruction, study replication, and analyzing literacy strategies and acquisition practices using varied methodologies will improve educational outcomes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership, administration, and policy; Reading (Elementary) -- Case studies; Elementary school teachers; Literacy

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;