Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr Patty LeBlanc

Second Advisor

Dr Thomas J Gallery

Third Advisor

Dr Bette Heins


Independent reading has been implemented in elementary classrooms for decades. However, what independent reading looks like, teacher expectations related to it, and student attitudes toward it differ greatly depending on the individual classroom. Increasing demands on teachers to improve student achievement has resulted in more time spent in teacher-directed instruction and teacher-selected text, and less time for students to read self-selected, engaging text, resulting in lack of interest and purpose for reading (Gran & DeVoogd, 2008). Effective implementation of independent reading is necessary to improve student achievement, increase reader stamina, and build positive attitudes toward reading in general (Lee, 2011). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of 60 minutes of daily independent reading in the classroom on reading achievement of fifth-grade students. The research used an experimental pre-test/post-test control group design. Quantitative data were compiled using paired composite scale scores for fourth- and fifth-grade students on the Florida Standards Assessment in English Language Arts (FSA ELA). Fourth-grade FSA ELA composite scale scores served as the reading pre-test, and fifth-grade FSA ELA composite scale scores served as the reading post-test. Two t-tests of independent samples were conducted to compare differences between the experimental and comparison groups on pre- and post-test scale scores on the FSA ELA. Although the differences between the experimental and control groups were not significant, ancillary analyses within the experimental group uncovered significant reading results related to gender, ethnicity, and qualification for free or reduced lunch. In addition, qualitative results within the experimental group identified the need for future research related to independent reading in the classroom and its impact on student achievement.