Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

AnnMarie Gunn, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Danielle V. Dennis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roger Brindley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrea Gelfuso, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Sherry, Ph.D.


(mis)understandings, teacher preparation, techer educators, literacy instruction


Prior research has established preservice literacy teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning are often misguided and/or overly-simplistic, yet limited work has examined in what ways their in-the-moment teaching decisions align or misalign with what they believe. This qualitative study used deductive analysis methods to: (1) Identify three preservice teachers’ knowledge/beliefs about reading, reading instruction, and learning, as evidenced by their planning, reflecting, and in-the-moment teaching decisions, and (2) investigate if/how participants’ knowledge/beliefs manifested across multiple teaching experiences. Findings indicate that while participants made attempts to act on professional ideas they explored/practiced with the support of a university-based mentor, they taught most consistently in strong alignment with their deepest-seated beliefs. Those beliefs frequently represented (mis)understandings (Gelfuso, 2018) about teaching, learning, and reading, and mirrored the procedures/priorities of participants’ internship contexts. Findings also indicate participants’ most salient (mis)understandings were in relation to: (a) The purpose of elementary reading instruction, (b) what it looks like/sounds like to model and guide children, and (c) what it means to learn. Implications/recommendations for preservice literacy teacher educators are discussed, as well as possible future research directions.