Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Patricia R. Kelly, PhD; Nancy Farnan, PhD; Robert L. Infantino, EdD


California, education, English language learners, language interactions, qualitative, reading recovery teachers, student-teacher interactions


This qualitative study investigated characteristics of student-teacher interactions during the new book introduction portion of Reading Recovery lessons. The new book introduction provides the student with background knowledge and story plot sufficient to render a successful first attempt reading the book that takes place directly after the introduction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of student-teacher interactions during the new book introduction portion of Reading Recovery lessons in order to describe the nature of these interactions and discover the relationships, if any exist, between the interactions and student performance. The study also searched for common themes in the function of teacher language when the student was successful in reading the new book. The theoretical framework for the study was socio-linguistic educational theory, literacy instruction for English-language learners, and Clay's theory about literacy learning. The study used the data collected on one student from each of nine Reading Recovery teachers in California who were teaching Spanish-dominant English-language learners. The data were collected from videotaped lessons, field notes of on-site observations by the researcher, and lesson documents. The constant comparison method (Creswell, 1998) was used during the data analysis to discover common themes and categories of the teaching-learning transactions. Teacher language was also defined by its teaching/learning function, using a rubric developed by Clay (1998). Successful student outcomes in reading the new book were measured by the Running Record of Oral Text Reading developed by Clay (2002). Using these positive student outcomes as a guide, the researcher found three major characteristics in the conversations: the interactions contained elements of successful learning conversations as described by Wells (1986); the teachers created an atmosphere of interactive ease or a feeling of comfort in the lesson; and the teachers delivered “comprehensible input” (Krashen, 1981) for English-language learners. The explanation for the most successful new book introductions relied on many interconnected characteristics. Teachers used both verbal and non-verbal interactions, concentrated heavily on the meaning of the book, and made good book choices. This study may inform the growing numbers of Reading Recovery teachers who teach English-language learners.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access