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Small Change: A Multilevel Study of the Implementation of Literature-Based Instruction

Peter Johnston, Richard Allington, Sherry Guice, and Gregory Brooks


This article describes the findings from a 5-year multilevel project that studied 4 high-poverty school districts that were attempting to change to a literature-based literacy curriculum in line with State Department of Education guidelines. The various studies in the project drew on classroom observations, interviews with teachers and administrators, and various documents and reports from schools, the State Department of Education, and the media. Analyses reveal the obstacles to change and some of the unintended effects of change methods. In particular, the authors document substantial differences between centralized and decentralized districts in their relationships and ways of talking. The authors conclude that unless there is radical change in the ways administrators and policymakers view educational change, literacy instruction in the 21st century will remain much the same as it is now.

* Article appeared in Peabody Journal of Education.

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