Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Janette K. Klingner

Second Advisor

Susan Hopewell

Third Advisor

Alison G. Boardman

Fourth Advisor

Kris D. Gutiérrez

Fifth Advisor

Maria A. Ruiz-Primo


Using sociocultural concepts of authoritative and dialogic discourse, I sought to answer the following questions: (1) How do classroom teachers' questioning practices during reading comprehension instruction differ between "low" and "average" groups, especially with respect to Accountable Talk questions (AT; Michaels, O'Connor, & Resnick, 2010) and Assertive Questions (AQ; Koshik, 2005) and with students with learning disabilities? And (2) In what ways do classroom teacher questioning practices during small group reading comprehension include AT and AQ? Qualitative observations, video and audio transcripts, and teacher interviews were used for my analysis of questions. In this study, I also examined quantitative differences in teachers' questions between the student groups by comparing frequencies of question types and by conducting significance tests. Findings show how teacher questioning practices can be imbued with tensions when questions are designed to transfer responsibility of thought to the students, as in Accountable Talk, but work to maintain the location of knowledge within the teacher, as in Assertive Questions. These tensions are situated within broader tensions of the activity, including the model of reading comprehension employed, teachers' conceptualizations of student dis/ability, and global problems within systems of accountability that have led to high-stakes systems of evaluation, what counts as learning, and whose knowledge is privileged.