Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Batya Elbaum

Second Committee Member

Wendy Cavendish

Third Committee Member

Dina Birman

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Krawec


The adoption of packaged curricular programs to promote literacy for adolescent struggling readers (ASRs) has become progressively more widespread as a result of increasing policy and accountability pressures. Greater attention is now being paid not just to what program is being used, but how it is being implemented. Yet, teachers are largely left out of decision-making with regard to curriculum and implementation. For teachers tasked with providing remedial instruction to ASRs, pressure to implement a program “with fidelity” are compounded by expectations related to high-stakes testing and accountability. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences and perspectives of teachers of ASRs regarding implementation of a packaged curricular program. Using implementation science and existing literature on curricular adaptations as a foundational framework, this qualitative study investigated the following overarching research question: How and why do intensive reading teachers adapt their curricular program? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten intensive reading teachers from a large, urban school district in the Southeastern United States. Analysis of the data yielded six themes which cut across two higher-order groupings: i) systems negotiations and ii) inter-/intrapersonal negotiations. Overall, findings from this study illustrate the complexity of teachers’ decisions to adapt their curricular program and reveal a number of ways teachers are adapting the curriculum amidst ambiguous pressures to implement “with fidelity”. This study’s findings have implications for implementation researchers as well as for school and district administrators leading implementation efforts in the district.


adaptation; implementation science; curriculum; adolescent struggling readers