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Teacher Prep Programs Embrace Science of Reading

January 28, 2020

A report out this week from the National Council on Teacher Quality says that teacher preparation programs are increasingly embracing what it calls the “science of reading instruction.” A bit of background: amid the long-term debate between whole language approaches to reading instruction and a more phonics-based take, the council advocates for the former. It’s been evaluating programs since 2013 and, for the first time since then, says that more than half of traditional elementary teacher prep programs do “an adequate job” of covering the science of reading, up from 35 percent seven years ago.

As part of the study, the council studied syllabi from 1,000 prep programs and checked them to make sure that future teachers were learning the big five of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. A video explainer on how teacher preparation programs were rated is available here.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement regarding the findings, “We know how to teach kids how to read. We just need to equip teachers with the fact-based, proven science to do it.” She said she applauds groups such as the council “and many state leaders who continue to push to end the unnecessary reading crisis and better support our nation’s students and teachers.”

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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