School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Rachel Hernandez


reading, reading strategies, science, literacy, science content area


Curriculum and Instruction


The purpose of the transcendental phenomenological study was to describe science teachers' lived experiences using reading strategies to improve literacy skills and prepare elementary, middle, and high school students for high-stakes science exams in the Southeast Region of the United States. At this stage in the research, literacy skills are students' abilities to gain and create knowledge through reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The theory that guided this study was Bandura's social cognitive theory regarding self-efficacy, as it examined how teachers perceived their ability to implement reading strategies in the science classroom. This research study's central question asks, "What reading strategies can improve students' literacy levels on high-stakes science exams?" The participants in the study were elementary, middle, or high school certified science teachers who taught science for less than two years regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. The setting is the Southeast Region of the United States that services K-12 students. Data was collected and triangulated through individual interviews, lesson plan reflection journals, and a focus group. All collected data were analyzed using the transcendental framework. The study revealed three themes and six sub-themes. This study explored three themes: strategies for reading science content, reading activities within the science lesson, and fostering scientific literacy. The findings revealed that implementing reading strategies depended on grade and academic levels. Teachers experienced increased self-efficacy through performance accomplishments, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasions, and emotional arousal, which enhanced their ability to implement reading strategies in the science classroom to improve high-stakes science exam scores.