Thesis Title

Implementaing Literacy Circles to Enhance Student Achievement Within a Phonics Based Curriculum

Graduation Date

Summer 2010

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Lisa Ray Kelly


The purpose of this study is to analyze the use of a whole-language component in addition to the English language arts program already being implemented at the school site of study. This study addresses the inclusion of literacy circles as the whole-language component in combination with the English language arts curriculum Open Court as it relates to student reading fluency achievement. The reviewed literature focuses on the English language arts curriculum, Open Court and its adoption, the on-going debate between phonics-based instruction and whole-language instruction, and the importance of reading fluency as a reading competency indicator. The sample includes a control group of 27 students and an intervention group of 21 students placed in two different classes, but in the same grade level. The interventions included the implementation of literacy circles, small group and individualized instruction, and writing practice in the form of response to literature. The literacy circles provided students an opportunity to practice their reading skills in a structured environment that fostered success. The results show that students in the intervention group exhibited increased reading achievement as measured by the reading fluency scores, particularly within the English language learners (ELL) sub-group. The data indicates that the implementation of a whole-language component in combination with the Open Court curriculum does have a Positive effect on student reading fluency achievement.

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