Date of Award



© 2017 Jane Dearani Calnan

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Grania Holman

Second Advisor

Corinna Crafton

Third Advisor

Karen Craig


Currently, school leaders are being called to action to find ways of improving the literacy achievement of today’s youth in response to the escalating number of students exiting high school unprepared for postsecondary educational programs and the workforce. Literacy coaching, as an embedded professional development model is one effective approach that can provide essential leadership and support for school and district-wide literacy reform. This qualitative single case study considers secondary literacy coaching in situ (in the natural setting) as a professional development model and the extent to which it supports the integration of literacy practices within disciplinary subjects. This study also pursues the use of storytelling as a hook to spark student interest in content material and engage them in project-based learning.

The study explored three research questions: 1) How does the role of secondary literacy coaching in situ (in the natural setting) support content teachers with introducing and embedding literacy strategies into their core subjects? 2) How can storytelling spark student interest in learning content material? 3) How does storytelling enhance student engagement and act as a catalyst for project-based, self-directed learning? Data collection included field observation notes, written reflections, documentation artifacts, a teacher questionnaire, and a focus group discussion with administrators. Data was analyzed using Creswell’s (2013) Data Analysis Spiral. Three rounds of coding were applied to determine categories which illuminated overall themes. Triangulation (Creswell, 2013) was used to corroborate evidence and validate findings through cross verification from multiple sources. This empirical investigation supports literacy coaching in situ as a powerful professional development model that can positively impact the teaching practices of secondary teachers and provide district and school-wide support for administrators. It also confirmed the benefit of story as a motivational hook for engaging adolescents in challenging disciplinary studies. Finally, it served to add to the discussion of current theories by providing effective ways to educate our youth, so they are prepared to meet the increasing challenges of our global 21st century society.


Ed.D. Dissertation