Date of Award

Fall 12-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Teaching & Educational Leadership


College of Education and Health

Committee Chair

Dr. John Freeman

Second Committee Member

Dr. Steve Bounds

Third Committee Member

Dr. Michael Watson

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Sarah Gordon


The science of reading has become a buzzword in education across the nation. In 2017, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the Right to Read Act (Right to Read Act, 2017). The law requires all elementary core (reading, mathematics, science, and social studies) teachers, kindergarten through sixth grade, and all kindergarten through twelfth-grade special education teachers to be proficient in scientific reading instruction (Right to Read Act, 2017). The law also requires all educators with an Arkansas Teaching License to know the scientific reading process (Right to Read Act, 2017). After the 2017 legislative session, the Arkansas Department of Education launched the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence (RISE; Right to Read Act, 2017). This qualitative study involved Arkansas elementary principals that were identified as certified assessors. As certified assessors, these principals observe teachers seeking a demonstration of proficiency in the science of reading. The individual interviews were conducted virtually during the 2022-2023 school year. The participants answered 13 questions and discussed three artifacts. The responses were collected, analyzed, and coded into emerging themes. These findings resulted in implications for practice and future research regarding the science of reading in Arkansas. The results of this research revealed five themes: the principal’s training regarding the science of reading, the principal’s support and resources, the principal’s educational background, the principal’s classroom observations, and the building principal’s beliefs regarding the science of reading.

Keywords: Science of Reading, teacher assessment