Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Literacy Studies: Reading (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth Stolle

Academic Year



Research has illustrated that students are not performing at or above basic proficiency levels in reading. Several factors contribute to this lack of student achievement. Students need a comprehensive approach to understanding complex text, and teachers need assistance in facilitating this. Implementing a classroom discourse approach is an effective way to enable student engagement, build essential literacy skills, and promote reading comprehension to increase student academic achievement in all content areas. Currently, however, providing a discourse approach with fidelity has not been a top priority among stakeholders. Thus, this project focuses on the implementation of a professional development pilot program that will instruct volunteer participants and educators on how to effectively apply a discourse approach through text-based discussions. Participants will learn of the historical context of discourse and participate in collaborative activities that will facilitate new knowledge which they can then apply to their instructional practices. Throughout this process, participants will notice an increase in student engagement through the use of text-based discussions. It is through this work that the volunteer participants are inspired by the increase in student engagement, comprehension, and academic achievement. At the conclusion of the pilot program, it is the intention to continue this work across the district so each student has the opportunity for increased academic success.