School of Education
Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)
reading anxiety strategies, first-grade, second-grade
Education | Educational Methods
Swaim, Sherri Friddle, "A Case Study Investigating Teachers' Use of Strategies to Address Anxiety Toward Reading in First-Grade and Second-Grade Students" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3441.
The purpose of this intrinsic case study was to investigate what strategies teachers are using to address reading anxiety in first and second graders. Reading anxiety can affect a person behaviorally, socially, and academically. Bandura’s social cognitive theory and self-efficacy theory guided this study, as they showed how behavior, environment, cognition, and self-efficacy could influence reading anxiety. Bandura also stated that cognition affected performance and that self-efficacy dealt with a student’s determination in the performance. The central research question asked, How are teachers addressing reading anxiety in the classroom? The participants in this study were first-grade and second-grade teachers who taught in a rural county in North Carolina. Data were collected through individual interviews and focus groups with first-grade and second-grade general education teachers. In addition, the teachers were asked to complete a participant reflection journal documenting two lessons in which they used various strategies to address reading anxiety during small group reading instruction. I used Yin’s case study data analysis steps. Four themes emerged in this study: positive reinforcement, reading one-on-one with the teacher, small reading groups, and developing reading skills. The theme that all the participants mentioned was positive reinforcement. This demonstrated that providing encouragement, building confidence, and praising a student can go a long way towards helping those who struggle with reading anxiety. Allowing a student to work one-on-one or in a small group builds the student’s confidence in reading. Lastly, working on those reading skills such as decoding and fluency could also help a student who struggles with reading anxiety.