Repository logo

The struggles, successes and disappointments of carrying out Action Research: A reflective analysis of a 25 week syllable intervention across two schools focusing on improving reading and spelling in young children aged between five and nine years old.



Change log


Halls, Christopher 


This thesis chronicles the successes, struggles and disappointments of carrying out Action Research with 15 members of staff and 300 children from various year groups across two schools. The research centres around a 25 week intervention aimed at improving syllable awareness with the view it might benefit reading and spelling development. To measure this, pre- and post-test data was compared as well as carrying out interviews with participants. The findings suggested that whilst the intervention made a difference in improving syllable awareness, this did not translate to significant reading or spelling progress. These findings do, however, run contrary to the growing literature presented within the thesis which argues that syllable awareness has an integral role in phonological development. Consequently, the thesis reflects on the shortcomings within the work: some were unavoidable considering the size and scale of the project, whilst others could have been mitigated with better planning. Crucially, however, all of these factors highlight the realities of carrying out Action Research in the ‘messy environments’ (Cain, 2019) of school. This thesis therefore offers the reader a detailed account of the personal growth which took place as a result of completing this EdD, as well as the change it had on a professional and institutional level.





Kershner, Ruth


EdD, Action Research, intervention, reflection, syllables, phonics, reading and spelling


Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge