Document Type

Special Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education


Professional Studies


Special Education

First Advisor

Jeong-il Cho

Committee Members

Jeong-il Cho, Jane Leatherman, Rama Cousik

Date of Award



Studies have shown that using research-based strategies for teaching phonics and fluency improve outcomes for students with learning disabilities. The availability and usability of research-based strategies are also in question. The purpose of this study is two-fold; (1) investigating teachers’ understanding and uses of research-based strategies in phonics and fluency for students with learning disabilities and (2) creating a handbook for teachers to use to better educate students with learning disabilities struggling in the areas of phonics and fluency. A qualitative research design utilizing a survey of elementary teachers from a Mid-Western state was used in this study. The survey was given to twelve elementary general and special education teachers. The survey consisted of open-ended questions concerning teachers’ understanding and use of research-based reading strategies for teaching phonics and fluency, their perceptions of the availability and usability of those strategies, and the sources of information teachers use to acquire research-based strategies. Six teachers completed the survey. Results show that half of the teachers have a good understanding of research-based strategies. The study also showed that most teachers use certain research-based strategies for phonics and fluency instruction. The perception of the availability and usability of research-based strategies among teachers was mixed. Sources of information for research-based strategies ranged from colleagues and professional development conferences to the school psychologist and the internet. The findings of this study helped develop a desktop resource for teachers highlighting research-based strategies for teaching phonics and fluency to students with and without learning disabilities.


phonics, fluency, reading disabilities, learning disabilities


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Special Education and Teaching