Preservice teachers’ shifting beliefs about struggling literacy learners

Susan L. Nierstheimer, Carol J. Hopkins, Deborah R. Dillon, Maribeth Cassidy Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study examined preservice elementary education teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about children who are struggling with learning to read and what these future teachers believed they should do to help these children. Three semesters of teacher candidates were enrolled in a redesigned corrective reading methods course with a tutoring practicum where features of the Reading Recovery professional development model were infused. Using the theoretical lens of constructivism, preservice teachers’ knowledge and beliefs were documented to determine if there were changes and shifts over time. Interpretations of multiple data from the 67 preservice teachers using within- and cross-case analyses revealed a major finding. After teacher candidates participated in the course, they shifted in their beliefs toward assuming responsibility for helping children with reading problems rather than assigning responsibility to someone else as they had when the course began. One of the primary factors involved in their shifts in beliefs appeared to be the use of features of the Reading Recovery professional development model in the tutoring component which influenced students’ abilities to select appropriate instructional practices and focus on the needs of individual children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalReading Research and Instruction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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