School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Gail Collins


reading anxiety strategies, first-grade, second-grade


Education | Educational Methods


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.