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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Do teachers learn how to teach reading? 19 states are 'weak' or worse

There will be no reading "miracles" without effective teachers, warns the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) in a new report. States must focus on preparing and training teachers to use research-based teaching strategies and on adopting high-quality reading curricula.

Photo: Unsplash

Nearly 40 percent of fourth graders can't read well, says the report. "These students may not be able to identify details from a text, sequence events from a story, and — in some cases — may not be able to read the words themselves." Yet, with better early literacy instruction, more than 90 percent of students would be competent readers.

Nineteen states have few or no policies to ensure teachers are prepared to teach reading, and 26 states don't provide guidelines to teacher-prep programs, according to the report.

States spend roughly over a billion dollars on reading curricula, yet only nine states require districts to select a high-quality reading curriculum. In fact, some of the most popular reading curricula being used by districts are not aligned with 50 years of research that shows how kids best learn to read.

A majority of states require and fund training in the science of reading for elementary teachers, the report found. However, in states that don't require it, more than half a million teachers may receive no training.

NCTQ reports that "dozens of states use licensure tests with little or no content related to the 'science of reading,' the extensive body of research into how people understand written language," writes Kevin Mahnken on The 74.

California's test of reading knowledge gets high marks from NCTQ -- but it's about to be retired, reports Diana Lambert on EdSource. The Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, or RICA, will be replaced by "a literacy performance assessment that allows teachers to demonstrate their competence by submitting evidence of their instructional practice through video clips and written reflections on their practice."

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Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Jan 17

NCTQ: "States must focus on preparing and training teachers to use research-based teaching strategies ..."

Sounds good, except that Colleges of Education call "research" too often appears to involve heavy doses of hallucinogenic drugs (by the investigator). Professors of Education promoted Whole Language methods of Reading instruction, "discovery" methods of Math instruction, block scheduling, portfolio assessment, critical pedagogy, and countless other lunatic fads.

My little sister (U of M, BA (History)) told me that my older sister taught her to read as a byproduct of "playing school" when she (little sister) was four and my older sister was ten.

Jan 19
Replying to

My brother and I learned at home because they didn't put three-year-olds in school in the 1960s.


Jan 16

Any stats on how many elementary school teachers are improving their teaching methods via self-study? Back in The Day, I was told that education doesn't stop when you get your degree.

Jan 17
Replying to

But, wouldn't it be nice if you got what you paid for? Go to teaching school and actually learn how to teach?

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