Instructional Leadership: Facilitating Early Literacy Instruction

The purpose of this research study was to investigate the successful leadership strategies that principals use to support first-grade teachers with reading instruction. Teaching students how to read can be a daunting task. This research study was conducted in southern California and focused on the students and policies that specifically affect California. The research examined the historical background of early literacy and the multiple governance policies that have been put in to place to help instructional leaders and teachers teach reading more effectively; however, that has not always been the result. Reading data were gathered to identify three schools with the highest reading scores in one district. Multiple classroom observations of effective first-grade teachers and post-observation interviews took place with the teachers to gain insight on reading instructional strategies. Next, interviews with the principals were conducted to discover effective leadership strategies that were used to support a successful reading program. In this study, the reading instructional strategies that first-grade teachers used to implement a successful reading program included: looking at the whole child, direct instruction, vocabulary instruction, whole-brain teaching strategies, and a blend of whole-language instruction and phonics instruction. The effective leadership strategies that principals used to facilitate and implement a successful reading program included: supporting their teachers as professionals, using data, supporting teachers with instructional materials, using research, creating a positive culture, and using teaming or collaboration among teachers.