Date of Award


Degree Type

Certificate of Advanced Study


Connecticut Literacy Specialist


Dr. Karen C. Waters


Researchers have affirmed a connection between students’ engagement in reading to their academic achievement. Struggling readers in particular are generally not engaged or motivated to read. While the construct of reading engagement is difficult to measure, a student’s motivation seems to be the driving force behind reading development. Additionally, today’s students are involved in and more motivated by the many different activities outside of school, which poses challenges for both teachers and parents. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of instructional techniques on student engagement in reading. To measure the academic progress of 21 fifth grade students over the course of a six-week intervention period, we considered two data points: the DRA2 and Serravallo’s (2014) Engagement Inventory. The engagement survey recorded students’ behaviors before, during, and after the intervention period, while the DRA2 measured reading achievement before and after the six weeks. Student behavior was coded to analyze the findings of the engagement surveys, which led to three major themes for increasing engagement: (1) the use of choice within the classroom such as seating, text, genre and assessments; (2) the use of authentic tasks to connect reading to the real world; and (3) collaboration with peers in literacy related tasks. An increase in students’ overall reading achievement affirmed the effectiveness of student choice, authentic tasks, and peer collaboration on student motivation. Additionally, the implementation of regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in student self-selection of text and collaborate with peers these themes resulted in a higher student self-efficacy in literacy.


Prepared for EDR 692 Applied Reading and Language Arts Research. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the coursework required for the post-masters' Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Literacy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.