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Volume IV: 2014

Kara Eident

Implementing Readers Theater in a First Grade Classroom: Impact on Sight Word Acquisition and Fluency

The purpose of this action research study was to examine the impact of implementing Readers Theater on reading fluency and sight word acquisition in a first-grade classroom setting. This study was guided by two research questions. First, does implementation of Readers Theater positively influence student fluency rates? Secondly, does implementation of Readers Theater impact first grade students’ sight word acquisition?

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Carla Hymes

Educational Background: In December of 2004 I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. I returned to Eastern for my graduate work and received my Master of Science degree in Elementary Education in May of 2014.

Teaching Background: I have taught first grade for seven years. I am currently employed at Williams Elementary School in Mattoon.

Action Research Project Title: Implementing Readers Theater in a First Grade Classroom: Impact on Sight Word Acquisition and Fluency

Purpose of Action Research: The purpose of this action research study was to examine the impact of implementing Readers Theater on reading fluency and sight word acquisition in a first-grade classroom setting. This study was guided by two research questions. First, does implementation of Readers Theater positively influence student fluency rates? Secondly, does implementation of Readers Theater impact first grade students’ sight word acquisition?

Impact of Master’s Program: Throughout my graduate studies at Eastern I was challenged to reflect on my teaching practices to incorporate the most relevant and effective teaching methods to best instruct my students. The resources, professors, and graduate colleagues helped enable me to implement new strategies in my classroom.



Jennie File

Using Computer Assistive Instruction for English Language Learners: A Case Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of computer assistive instruction to improve sight word acquisition by English Language Learners.

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Angie Peck

Educational Background: I received my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a Math minor with Teaching Certificate in June 1976 from Eastern Illinois University. In May 2014 I received a Master of Science in Elementary Education with Reading Certificate also from Eastern Illinois University.

Teaching Background: I taught high school math for two years in the seventies: one year in Washington, Indiana and the other in Mt, Sterling, Illinois. I also was involved in Education and Training during the twenty-five years working at the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign.

Action Research Project Title: Using Computer Assistive Instruction for English Language Learners: A Case Study

Purpose of Action Research: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of computer assistive instruction to improve sight word acquisition by English Language Learners.



Kimberly Galvin

Investigating the Impact of Extrinsic Rewards on Intermediate Tier III Math Competency

Teachers are faced with increasing amounts of pressure to improve academic achievement in their classrooms. Educators often turn to incentives to motivate students to perform to their highest abilities on achievement tests. The purpose of this action research project was to examine the impact extrinsic rewards had on fourth and fifth grade Tier III math students’ performances on weekly achievement assessments. For this action research project, four fourth grade students and four fifth grade students, identified as performing well-below their peer group in the area of math computation based on results from school-wide screenings, were chosen to participate in this study. Participants were assessed weekly to measure progress towards their Tier III math goals. For two weeks, participants were assessed under non-reward conditions. Then, students were offered tokens for increasing their weekly scores and assessed for two weeks under reward conditions. Data was collected and analyzed to compare student growth between the non-reward and reward conditions. Overall findings suggest that rewards did not make a significant impact on individual student performance. A closer examination of the data indicated that there was no significant difference in student progress based on gender. The data did, however, indicate that the fourth grade participants performed better under reward conditions than non-reward conditions while the fifth grade participants performed better during non-reward conditions than reward conditions.

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Kimberly Galvin

Educational Background: I graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in May of 2007. Immediately following, I attended Eastern Illinois University seeking my Teacher Certification and completed the program in December of 2009. I returned to Eastern to receive my Master of Science degree in Elementary Education, graduating in May of 2014.

Teaching Background: I have been the Elementary Response to Intervention Coordinator at Central A&M School District since 2011.

Action Research Project Title: Investigating the Impact of Extrinsic Rewards on Intermediate Tier III Math Competency

Purpose of Action Research: The purpose of this action research project was to examine the impact extrinsic rewards had on fourth and fifth grade Tier III math students’ performances on weekly achievement assessments.

Impact of Master’s Program: My experience during my graduate coursework at Eastern provided me with the skills and knowledge to think critically about my practices as an educator in order to best serve my students. The professors at Eastern taught me to critically examine the learning experiences I provide my students to ensure that each lesson I teach is of the highest quality, backed by research and meeting each individual need within my classroom. I truly believe that my time spent at Eastern has molded me into a highly equipped, confident educator and life-long learner.



Meagan Taylor

An Investigation of Repeated Readings and the Effect on Students’ Fluency

The purpose of this action research study was to examine the effects of repeated readings and explicit instruction on students’ oral reading fluency within my second grade classroom. This action research study spanned four weeks and was guided by the following essential question: What are the effects of utilizing repeated readings and explicit instruction within the small group reading setting to increase students’ oral reading fluency? The Hear All Assessment Recorder was utilized during explicit reading instruction time so that the students could read into the recorder for the initial read of the story. Students played back their own recording to listen to, evaluate, and discuss their own reading. The recorder was also utilized on the final read of the story so that the students could listen to the difference between the initial read and the final read of the story after all of the repeated reading practice and guided group instruction. Prior to evaluating and critically analyzing the data from this research study, it was predicted that exposure with repeated reading would aid students in increasing overall fluency. However, the extent of the improvement was unknown. After compiling and analyzing the data and reflecting upon the instructional procedures engaged during this research study, the findings suggest that repeated readings and explicit small group reading instruction may be an effective teaching strategy to assist students in gaining and building reading fluency techniques.

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More about Meagan

Meagan Taylor

Educational Background: I received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Eastern Illinois University in December of 2009. I returned to Eastern to receive my Master of Science in Education in May of 2014.

Teaching Background: I have been a second grade teacher at Carl Sandburg Elementary School since 2010.

Action Research Project Title: An Investigation of Repeated Readings and the Effect on Students’ Fluency

Purpose of Action Research: The purpose of this action research study was to examine the effects of repeated readings and explicit instruction on students’ oral reading fluency within my second grade classroom. This action research study spanned four weeks and was guided by the following essential question: What are the effects of utilizing repeated readings and explicit instruction within the small group reading setting to increase students’ oral reading fluency? The Hear All Assessment Recorder was utilized during explicit reading instruction time so that the students could read into the recorder for the initial read of the story. Students played back their own recording to listen to, evaluate, and discuss their own reading. The recorder was also utilized on the final read of the story so that the students could listen to the difference between the initial read and the final read of the story after all of the repeated reading practice and guided group instruction. Prior to evaluating and critically analyzing the data from this research study, it was predicted that exposure with repeated reading would aid students in increasing overall fluency. However, the extent of the improvement was unknown. After compiling and analyzing the data and reflecting upon the instructional procedures engaged during this research study, the findings suggest that repeated readings and explicit small group reading instruction may be an effective teaching strategy to assist students in gaining and building reading fluency techniques.

Impact of Master’s Program: This action research study allowed me as an educator to not only implement a specific teaching strategy, but also critically evaluate its effectiveness and usefulness. By taking the time to reflect and evaluate what I had implemented, I was able to observe what aspects seemed to be most valuable, but also what areas I would adapt or modify for the future. I gained a great deal of confidence in my teaching abilities after completing my master’s program. I have shared the information I gleaned from numerous professors, workshops, and classmates with my fellow colleagues who have all expressed a sense of gratitude for the continued collaboration. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge and resources I gained from my experience at Eastern.