Teacher Characteristics and Effective Implementation of the Accelerated Reader program, as reported by Teachers of African American students

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How are teacher characteristics related to teaching practices in reading instruction? Melton, Smothers, Anderson, Fulton, Replogue, & Thomas (2004) maintained teachers are the most powerful dynamic in the classroom. African American students often attain lower reading scores than other students. It is important to determine which teacher characteristics may be affecting the reading achievement of African American students when the Accelerated Reading (AR) program is utilized in the classroom. This study examined teacher characteristics and compared them to elements of the Accelerated Reader program and teaching approaches the participants may have used with their African American students to increase their reading achievement scores. The study is necessary to the field of literacy because no study exists that considers the actions of the teachers when they utilize the AR program with their African American students to increase their reading achievement scores. This study reported responses and comments of 25 teacher participants from three different elementary-middle schools. The use of quantitative data from the research-based online SurveyMonkey Pro survey and written comments from participants were considered the most effective methods of data collection and provided a logical approach to gathering information and maintaining the validity of the data. The 42-question survey instrument included multiple choice and free-response answers regarding how the participants implemented the AR program. The hypothesis predicted that the teacher characteristics would be related to all eight elements and all ten approaches. The data analysis was completed with IBM’s SSPS Statistics software, Version 22, to determine statistically significant relationships. The results of the study indicated five teacher characteristics, specifically the participants’ educational level, the participants’ total years of teaching experience, the participants’ years of using AR in the classroom, the years the participants had been teaching the current grade, and the number of school or district AR workshops the participants attended positively correlated with multiple elements of the AR program and many of the teaching approaches the participants used with their African American students to increase their reading achievement scores.



African American students, Accelerated reader program, Reading achievement, Teacher approaches, Teacher characteristics