Literacy leadership in secondary schools: A case study of teaching and learning in two school districts

2009 2009

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Abstract (summary)

Improvement in literacy learning in secondary schools requires a dual focus: a district and school organizational leadership approach, and a classroom- and instruction-focused approach. To help close the achievement gap and improve learning for all students, whole school reform efforts must be focused on literacy. Elements of whole school reform may include professional development programs such as professional learning communities, peer coaching, and literacy coaching. The sociocultural contexts that these approaches incorporate can help improve the learning of both teachers and students and can bring about significant secondary school reform and academic improvement.

This dissertation study is a qualitative, collective, case study of two school districts and their approaches to promoting secondary literacy. The study describes and analyzes forms of literacy leadership at both the district and school level, explores professional development methods used for promoting literacy and assesses their effectiveness, analyzes the incorporation of sociocultural structures in professional development, and describes and analyzes the roles of literacy coaches and leaders. The study made use of several data collection methods, including audiotaped interviews, document analysis, and field observations and also includes elements of program evaluation to assess the effectiveness of each district's approach to secondary literacy. Data analysis included coding of all data followed by identification of major emerging themes.

Results indicated that both districts have made significant progress in focusing attention on and allocating resources to secondary school literacy. The data analysis resulted in several major themes emerging for both districts related to literacy leadership and coaching, instructional strategies, writing, leadership and change, collaboration, best practices, resources, goals, challenges, assessment and evaluation, student literacy skills, professional development, intervention, reading incentives, and district and school level support. Comparative observations are made based on the results in each district, and recommendations are offered for both school districts.

Indexing (details)

Secondary education;
Reading instruction;
Curriculum development;
Secondary schools;
School districts
0533: Secondary education
0535: Literacy
0535: Reading instruction
0727: Curriculum development
Identifier / keyword
Education; Leadership; Literacy; Literacy coaching; Literacy leadership; Professional development; School improvement; Secondary school literacy; Secondary schools
Literacy leadership in secondary schools: A case study of teaching and learning in two school districts
Berry, Gregory
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 70/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Portland State University
University location
United States -- Oregon
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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