PH.D. IN READING

Older woman and female student surrounded by stacks of books as they work on research in a library.

The Doctorate of Philosophy degree in reading is a program of study designed to prepare candidates with the knowledge and expertise to become teacher educators, scholars, and literacy researchers. This degree is a research-oriented program of study with rigorous coursework in literacy theories combined with cognitive apprenticeships in the field and opportunities to collaborate with faculty on scholarly work and research projects. To achieve this goal, candidates must be participants in a professional community where research and scholarly activity are intentionally embedded into the teacher preparation programs.


WHAT YOU’LL STUDY

The Doctorate of Philosophy in reading is designed to prepare reading educators for leadership roles in scholarly practice, literacy research, and teaching at university or college levels. A research-oriented program of study, the rigorous coursework in literacy theories combined with cognitive apprenticeships in the field prepare students for opportunities to collaborate with faculty on scholarly work and research projects. To achieve this goal, candidates must be participants in a professional community where research and scholarly activity are intentionally embedded into the teacher preparation programs.


Admission Requirements

Graduate School Admission

  • Apply for admission to the UA Little Rock Graduate School.
  • $40 non-refundable application fee paid via the link in the initial application email or by contacting the Cashier’s Office.
  • Official transcripts from ALL previously attended colleges and universities (undergraduate and graduate).
    • International students must have their transcripts articulated. Transcripts that have not been articulated can be submitted for the application process; however, if a student is granted admission, WES-articulated transcripts must be submitted to the Graduate School before he or she can register for classes.
  • Proof of 2 MMR vaccines. Contact your program coordinator if you think you are eligible for a waiver. Students only in the UA Little Rock Online programs are exempt.
  • Proof of a grade point average of at least 2.7 on a 4.00 scale, including post-baccalaureate hours.
  • A copy of your government-issued photo ID.

International Student Admission

Required documents for international admission:

  • Tuberculosis screening
    • All applicants must provide proof of a Tuberculosis screening, which must be performed in the United States of America and can be done at the Health Services Center at UA Little Rock.
  • Health and accident insurance
    • All international students must purchase the health and accident insurance provided by UA Little Rock and maintain coverage year-round. Students will be billed at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. A student who enters in a summer semester will be billed for that semester as well, making the total number of times billed three instead of two. If you have any questions, please contact Health Services at 501-569-3188.
  • Transfer forms
    • Applicants transferring from another institution within the United States of America must also provide a Transfer and Visa form completed by the applicant’s International Student Services advisor from his or her current institution.
  • Financial statement (students with F and J visas only)
    • Before they can be accepted into the Graduate School, students must provide a financial statement showing that they are financially capable of pursuing a graduate education in the United States of America. For more information on this form, please contact the office of International Student Services at 501-916-5815.
  • All applicants must submit a copy of their visa.

Program Admission

All applicants for both regular and conditional admission status must have a valid provisional or standard teaching license (Arkansas or other state).

Regular Admission

Admission decisions will be made on a holistic basis to discern the candidate’s promise for doctoral study and to ascertain the match of the candidate’s educational goals with the resources and goals of the reading program.

  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3 on master’s degree or higher
  • GRE quantitative score with a minimum score of 141
  • GRE verbal score with a minimum score of 150
  • GRE analytical writing score with a minimum score of 4.5
  • Three professional letters of recommendation
  • Reading faculty interview, including professional goals statement, current curriculum vitae, and other requested evidences of the applicant’s promise for doctoral studies
Conditional Admission

Admission to regular status will be contingent upon the student successfully completing 12 hours of the following coursework with a minimum 3.5 GPA:

  • READ 8320 Phonology, Orthography, and Linguistics
  • READ 8330 Cognitive and Social Theories in Literacy Learning
  • READ 8348 Scholarly Writing in Literacy
  • READ 8349 Research Practicum in Literacy
  • EDFN 7373 Qualitative Research Methods
  • EDFN 8305 Intermediate Statistics
  • EDFN 8306 Advanced Research Methods

Reading faculty will review the applicant’s completed work in addition to the overall admissions application to determine if the student will be granted regular admission to the program.


Retention Requirements

The program of study is organized under four curricular areas:

  • Literacy Core
  • Research Core
  • Specialty Area
  • Dissertation

The literacy core includes 15 hours of coursework that provides candidates with an integrated exploration of seminal theories, key research studies, and historical contributions in reading instruction. The research core includes 15 hours of coursework that addresses current information about research design and methods for quantitative and qualitative studies, including statistics and data management.

The specialty area includes 24 hours of coursework that provides candidates with a range of options for deepening their knowledge in concentrated areas. The dissertation courses include a minimum of 18 hours of coursework that provides candidates with the knowledge and experiences for designing and conducting scholarly research in literacy education.

Residence Requirements

Residence is defined as a full-time registration for a given semester on the UALR campus. The summer term is included in this period. Two consecutive semesters of residence are required with a minimum of six semester hours taken each semester.


Graduation Requirements

The Ph.D. in Reading requires a minimum of 108 hours (72 hours beyond the master’s degree) as determined by student and student’s coursework advisor. Additional requirements include:

  • the successful completion of an electronic portfolio in Chalk and Wire,
  • a passing score on a comprehensive written examination, and
  • the successful defense of the dissertation research.

Curriculum

Reading Prerequisites

If the candidate does not hold a reading license or a Master’s in reading, the candidate will be required to complete nine hours of foundational reading coursework, including Foundations of Teaching Reading, Reading Diagnosis (or equivalent courses), and three hours of Reading practicum prior to enrolling in any 8000-level reading coursework. These hours can be applied as electives in the degree plan.

Research Prerequisites

If the candidate did not complete a statistics or entry-level research class in the Master’s or Educational Specialist program, the candidate will be required to complete EDFN 7304: Basic Statistics and EDFN 7303: Introduction to Research prior to enrolling in any 8000-level research or statistics courses (some courses may have other prerequisites, as well). If the candidate did not complete a qualitative research class in the Master’s or Educational Specialist program, the candidate will be required to complete EDFN 7373: Qualitative Research Methods prior to enrolling in EDFN 8383: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods.

Literacy Core Requirements (15 hours)

  • READ 8320 Phonology, Orthography, and Linguistic Processes
  • READ 8330 Cognitive and Social Theories in Literacy Learning
  • READ 8342 Reading Comprehension: From Research to Practice
  • READ 8345 Theoretical Models and Historical Perspectives
  • READ 8399 Doctoral Seminar in Reading

Research Core (15 hours)

  • EDFN 8305 Intermediate Statistics
  • EDFN 8308 Advanced Statistics
  • EDFN 8306 Advanced Research Methods
  • EDFN 8330 Mixed Methods
  • EDFN 8383 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • EDFN 8310 Applied Measurement in Research and Analysis

Specialty Areas (24 hours)

  • READ 8340 Research in Language and Literacy
  • READ 8348 Scholarly Writing in Literacy
  • READ 8349 Research Practicum in Literacy
  • READ 8301 Professional Experiences in Literacy Programs
  • READ 8302 Supervision and Organization of Reading Programs
  • READ 8304 Curriculum Design and Evaluation of Literacy Programs
  • READ 8305 Literacy Coaches as Agents of Change
  • READ 7321 Processes and Strategies in Reading Comprehension
  • READ 7330 Children’s Literature Across the Curriculum
  • READ 7348 Teaching Writing in Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • READ 7395 Comprehensive Literacy Model for School Improvement
  • READ 7397 Creating Literate Environments
  • READ 7398 Theory and Practice in Literacy

Dissertation (18 hours)

Following the completion of all course work, the candidate writes a dissertation proposal detailing the intended research and the rational behind it. The candidate must defend the proposal to the dissertation committee. After approval is granted, work on the dissertation can proceed. The dissertation represents the culmination of an original major research project completed by the student. The candidate may continue to enroll in dissertation beyond the fourth year but must have the dissertation completed prior to the ten-year limit.

  • READ 9199-9999 Dissertation

Course Descriptions

Reading Education Courses

READ 7321 Processes and Strategies in Reading Comprehension
This course focuses on the processes of reading comprehension, including the influence of perceptions, beliefs, motivation, language, and strategies for understanding. An emphasis is placed on effective questioning, text selection, discourse chains, and environment as ways to promote comprehension. Three credit hours.

READ 7330 Children’s Literature Across the Curriculum
This course is based upon current issues, research, and effective practices regarding the use of children’s literature across the curriculum. Students will learn how to select quality children’s books for use in a variety of content areas; develop respect and appreciation for numerous genres, multicultural literature, authors, illustrators, and poets; and plan lessons that use children’s literature to effectively support and enrich instruction in a variety of classroom settings. Three credit hours.

READ 7348 Teaching Writing in Elementary and Secondary Schools
The course emphasizes the teaching of the writing process within a writing workshop format, including pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Additional areas of study will include writing conferences, keeping a writer’s notebook, genre writing, evaluating writing, and other issues related to learning to write. Three credit hours.

READ 7351 Foundations of Teaching Reading
Psychological dimensions of reading; principles of learning; organizational pattern affecting reading instruction; scope of the reading process; correlates of reading instruction; emphasis on appropriate use of various learning, psycho-linguistic theories in planning reading programs to meet children’s needs. Three credit hours.

READ 7352 Diagnosis of Reading Difficulties I
Prerequisite or Co-requisite: READ 7351. This course explores the causes of reading difficulties/disabilities, approaches to diagnosis, and appropriate remedial measures. Candidates analyze a variety of assessments, including formal and informal assessment instruments, administer and interpret assessments and make recommendations for appropriate instructional methodologies for specific students. Three credit hours.

READ 7356 Practicum in Reading
Prerequisites: READ 7351, READ 7352. Candidates in this course will be involved in a clinical experience that supports the focus of their professional goals. Students will plan and implement an instructional program for students. The content of the class will include problem solving around the issues related to working in the clinical experience. Three credit hours.

READ 7395 Comprehensive Literacy Model for School
The course is designed as a summer literacy institute for teachers and school teams interested in implementing a comprehensive literacy model, including a framework for literacy, individual and small group interventions, literacy team meetings, assessment walls and progress, school plans, and literacy coaching. The course is a requirement for the Literacy Coach certificate program. Three credit hours.

READ 7397 Creating a Literate Environments for Young Learners
The course focuses on implementing a workshop approach in reading, writing, and content areas for meeting the needs of all students, including how to use reading strategies to access content knowledge. An emphasis is placed on organizing instruction to include a balance of whole group teaching, small group instruction, and individual conferences. Literacy components are discussed, including the rationale and procedures for implementing mini-lessons, guided reading, literature discussion groups, shared reading, small group assisted writing, and one-to-one conferences. Three credit hours.

READ 7398 Theory and Practice in Literacy
This course examines literacy theories and their practical implications for instruction. Theories of knowledge acquisition, literacy processing, assisted performance, and transfer are examined and applied to reading and writing. Students conduct an action research project in a literacy-related area. Three credit hours.

READ 8301 Supervision and Organization of Reading Programs
This course focuses on preparing reading specialists and literacy coaches for supervising and organizing a school-wide literacy program, including organizational techniques and instructional approaches. An additional focus is placed on developing the knowledge and skills of a literacy coach in three major areas: coaching teachers, providing professional development to school personnel, and evaluating a school’s literacy program. Three credit hours.

READ 8302 Professional Experiences in Reading
The course focuses on practical experiences with a literacy program in a school. Requires a minimum of 10 clock hours a week in the appropriate practicum setting, attendance at scheduled seminars, and a portfolio that demonstrates competencies as a reading professional, including conducting literacy team meetings and staff development, coaching teachers, making curricula decisions, and collecting data for school improvement. Supervised internships are required for literacy coaches and other literacy leaders. Three credit hours.

READ 8304 Curriculum Design and Evaluation of Literary Programs
This course focuses on designing and assessing literacy curriculum, including evaluating literacy programs and materials and analyzing their evidence-based rationales, aligning curriculum to state and professional standards, creating activities and rubrics to match curriculum, and using school-embedded professional development to achieve literacy goals. Three credit hours.

READ 8305 Literacy Coaches as Agents of Change
This course focuses on the roles and responsibilities of a literacy coach, including specialized techniques and language prompts for scaffolding teachers. An emphasis is placed on observing change over time in knowledge levels and types of self-reflection. Other responsibilities include modeling lessons, conducting team meetings, leading study groups, selecting materials, and collecting and analyzing data for school improvement. Three credit hours.

READ 8320 Phonology, Orthography, and Linguistic Processes
This course focuses on the theories of written language learning, including how phonological and orthographic language systems change over time. Theories and research related to letters, sounds and their relationships, word patterns, and spelling knowledge will be used to plan reading instruction. An emphasis will be placed on the role of texts for stimulating print awareness and developing strategies for integrating multiple sources of information. Three credit hours.

READ 8330 Cognitive and Social Theories in Literacy Learning
This course examines theories of cognitive, linguistic, and social learning and their practical implications for teaching students in the elementary and middle grades. A focus is placed on using language as a problem-solving tool for learning about literacy. Research-based components of literacy are examined and applied to the everyday context of teaching and learning. Three credit hours.

READ 8340 Research in Language and Literacy
This course examines the theories and research on language and literacy acquisition, including the description of methods and techniques employed in literacy research. Students design and conduct a research project in a literacy-related area. Three credit hours.

READ 8348 Scholarly Writing in Literacy
The course focuses on how to prepare reading candidates to write and publish for a scholarly audience, including setting a writing purpose, conducting a literature review, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting information in the appropriate writing format. The course emphasizes the writing process, including drafting, composing, revising, editing, and publishing stages. Students will submit the final manuscript for publication or for a conference presentation. Three credit hours.

READ 8349 Research Practicum in Literacy
This course focuses on preparing students to participate in a faculty-sponsored research project. Students must also complete an individual study, including a manuscript submission and conference presentation. Three credit hours.

READ 8399 Doctoral Seminar in Reading
Advanced topics in reading and language arts selected by the instructor in consideration of the needs and interests of doctoral students. Research and seminal works are analyzed and interpreted. Research designs, procedures and findings are discussed. Student must be admitted to Ph.D. program or have permission of instructor. Three credit hours.

READ 9199-9999 Dissertation
Prerequisites: Completion of all course work; consent of instructor. Development of a doctoral-level dissertation. Three credit hours.

Educational Foundation Courses

EDFN 7303 Intro to Research
Prerequisite: graduate standing. Introduction to applied research in education across the major quantitative, qualitative, and action research traditions. Focus is on understanding the research process and its integrated components and evaluating published research reports from the perspective of a critical consumer. Topics include scientific reasoning, types of variables and hypotheses; sampling; data collection and instrumentation; control procedures; common experimental, non-experimental, qualitative, and mixed methods research designs; data analysis; and research critiques and proposals. Three credit hours.

EDFN 7304 Basic Statistics
Introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics used in education and data-driven decision making. Topics include commonly used descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis, standardized scores, inferential reasoning, hypothesis testing, and parametric and nonparametric procedures and their assumptions including t-tests, one-way analysis of variance, correlation coefficients, bivariate regression, and chi-square. Emphasis is on understanding the logical bases of statistical tests of significance, selecting appropriate data analysis techniques, and using statistical software and interpreting its output. Three credit hours.

EDFN 7373 Qualitative Research
Prerequisite: EDFN 7303. This course has primarily a twofold purpose: to expose students to the knowledge base, tradition, and theory of qualitative research. While introductory in nature, this course allows students to explore theoretical underpinnings as well as consider methodological strategies in preparation for designing a research project and writing it up for presentation. Three credit hours.

EDFN 8305 Intermediate Statistics
Prerequisite: EDFN 7304. A second course in statistics that covers the more complex analyses used in education and data-driven decision making. Topics include simple and multiple linear regression, one- and two-factor fixed factor analysis of variance, random and mixed model analysis of variance, randomized block, hierarchical analysis of variance, and analysis of covariance. Emphasis is on further understanding the logical bases of statistical tests of significance, selecting appropriate data analysis techniques, and using statistical software and interpreting its output. Three credit hours.

EDFN 8306 Advanced Research Methods
Prerequisites: EDFN 7303, EDFN 7304. A second course in quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research designs commonly used in education. Topics include the philosophy of science, research problems, control procedures, sampling designs, measurement procedures, data collection strategies, and approaches to data analysis. Focus is on complex designs across the research traditions, writing critical reviews, and writing research proposals that include sound methodology. Three credit hours.

EDFN 8308 Advanced Statistics
Prerequisites: EDFN 8305. An advanced course in statistics that covers complex analyses used in education and data-driven decision making. Topics include multivariate analysis of variance, loglinear analysis, discriminant function, canonical correlation, and an introduction to structural equation modeling and confirmatory factor analysis. Emphasis is placed on providing solid skill in the use of the major statistical software packages for the purposes of program evaluation or other advanced analysis requirements. Three credit hours.

EDFN 8310 Applied Measurement in Research and Analysis
Prerequisite: EDFN 8305 and 8306. Theoretical bases of measurement in education, applied measurement techniques, and practical approaches to the design and analysis of data collection instruments. Topics include psychometrics, scale construction, and instrument design and development. Three credit hours.

EDFN 8383 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
Prerequisite: EDFN 7373. A second course that is designed to provide students with an in-depth exploration into the philosophy, theory and practice of naturalistic inquiry. Students will explore the philosophical foundation of post modern research. Furthermore, students will study a variety of qualitative research design, data collection, data analysis, and report writing methods. Students will conduct a research study and receive feedback on the study’s design specific to a single tradition of qualitative inquiry, on data collection, on data analysis, and on drafting the narrative. Three credit hours.


MEET OUR FACULTY

Portrait of Dr. Kent Layton

Kent Layton, Ph.D.

Interim Associate Dean, College of Education and Health Professions; Interim Director, STEM Education Center; Associate Professor

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Susan Perry, Ed.D.

Visiting Professor

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