Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Jeanne E. Okrasinski

Thesis Committee Member

Cynthia W. Rich

Thesis Committee Member

Alexis Jones


This study shows the challenges the English Language Learners face in learning reading at the Elementary level; implementing reading strategies for them; and choosing effective strategies for the students to learn reading more easily. The findings of the study show that teachers use different strategies according to the language proficiency level of the students. ELL students face challenges in communication, pronunciation, sound recognition, and vocabulary. As a strategy to overcome these challenges, the teachers emphasize learning phonics and vocabulary. Observations of three teachers in three mainstream classrooms show that teachers implement nearly similar strategies for teaching phonics and vocabulary. The research concluded that in different rural Elementary schools in the Midwest have a different number of English Language Learners. Monolingual ELL students’ learning is slower than bilingual students. The performance of the students in learning reading is positively affected by the special support of the ESL teacher and an extra one on one support from the teachers. The teachers implement numerous strategies according to the learning requirements of the ELLs. Letter-sound, letter-recognizing, and repetition of words are effective strategies to develop reading skills of ELLs. The teachers implement those strategies by applying visual aid and home language supports from different resources to develop vocabulary skills. ELL students need extra time and support for learning reading skills.