Knowledge of Early Reading - Excerpted from State of the States 2021: Teacher Preparation Policy

March 2021

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Knowledge of Early Reading - Excerpted from State of the States 2021: Teacher Preparation Policy

- Updated August 2021 - 

Most states continue to lack a comprehensive set of policies to improve teacher knowledge of evidence-based early reading methods. This excerpt from NCTQ's State of the States 2021: Teacher Preparation Policy examines state policy trends that govern requirements for early reading instruction knowledge in teacher preparation and licensure. 



A third of the nation's students reach fourth grade unable to read at even a basic level. This problem is especially stark for students of color: Only about half of Black and Hispanic fourth grade students can read at a basic level. As school expectations shift from students learning to read, to reading to learn, these students will fall further and further behind. However, providing students with instruction that follows the science of reading, established by a landmark analysis of decades of research, can slash the rate of reading failure from three in 10 children to one in 10.

The most efficient way for states to determine that their programs are teaching essential content and that their teacher candidates are ready to teach children to read is to use a strong licensure test. Ideally, the test needs to be a stand-alone test or subtest so that high scores in other content areas cannot mask low scores in reading knowledge. NCTQ considers a test strong if it presents a faithful representation of the science of reading and fully assesses whether a teacher candidate has the knowledge to build the essential skills children need to learn how to successfully decode words and comprehend what they read.

Download the full PDF excerpt: Knowledge of Early Reading: State teacher preparation policy requirements for elementary, special education, and early childhood teachers.

Explore more state teacher preparation policy data and analysis in the full State of the States 2021: Teacher Preparation Policy report.

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