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Teacher Prep Review

Reviews of Reading
Instructional Materials Used by Teacher Preparation Programs

NCTQ regularly convenes reading experts — researchers, teacher educators, and experienced elementary educators — to review both textbooks and educational resources, such as journal articles or instructional videos, used by teacher preparation programs in their required reading coursework. These experts examine how well each material aligns with scientifically based reading instruction, a science rooted in 60+ years of research on what makes for the most effective methods to teach young students to read.

See our methodology behind the review

NCTQ regularly convenes reading experts to conduct a thorough review of textbooks and educational materials used to teach aspiring teachers how to teach reading. These experts examine how well these materials adhere to scientifically based reading instruction, which is rooted in 60+ years of research on what makes for the most effective reading instruction.

The 2 types of materials

Experts classify each material under two designations — textbook for traditional textbooks designed for teacher preparation, or resource for additional materials, such as instructional videos, journal articles, blog posts, etc. that are used in addition to or in lieu of textbooks.

  • Textbook
  • Resource

The 5 critical components

Experts evaluate how well each material covers the five critical components of reading: phoneme (or phonological) awareness, phonics (decoding, word analysis, word study), reading fluency, vocabulary (language development), and comprehension. Coverage of these components should be rooted in contemporary research.

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

The 3 learner populations

In addition to identifying whether materials cover the 5 critical components, experts determine if, and how well, a material supports teaching a range of learners: struggling readers, English language learners, and students who speak language varieties other than mainstream English. Coverage of these components should be rooted in contemporary research.

  • Struggling Readers
  • English Language Learners
  • English Language Variations

The 3 ratings

To rate each item, the expert reviewer determines if the material defines and presents each component rooted in contemporary research. Acceptable texts cover components comprehensively, providing future teachers with an accurate, research-based understanding of what the component is, how to assess acquisition of the component, and how to teach the component using acceptable proven teaching methods. Comprehensive texts must contain this information for all five components, and some are categorized as Exemplary based on their level of quality and inclusion of information related to assessment. Unacceptable texts present inaccurate or unscientific information about the component definitions, how to assess acquisition of the component, and/or how to teach one or more components.

  • Exemplary
  • Acceptable
  • Unacceptable

The 3 classifications

Materials are grouped by the evaluators into classifications according to the breadth of their content, which is determined based on the presence of the key components within the material. Comprehensive materials cover a broad spectrum of reading instruction subjects and content, and intend to cover all five components. Specialized materials address a specific reading component or a combination of reading components, but not all five. Synopsis materials provide summary information on one or more reading components, which alone are not appropriate to cover the depth of information required.

  • Comprehensive
  • Specialized
  • Synopsis
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Learn more about how we scored the Reading Foundations Standard.

See the Methodology

Learn about the team of expert reviewers

The team of independent expert reviewers are committed experts with a diverse array of experiences as professors, educators, consultants, and authors in the field of reading.

Textbook Evaluators

Dr. Staci Bain

Board Member, International Dyslexia Association

President, The Reading League Washington


Dr. Marcia Davidson

Global Director of Reading and Writing Instruction

Room to Read



Marie Dembowski

Adjunct Professor and Reading Consultant

School of Education and the Center for Dyslexia Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University

Dr. Deborah Glaser

Education Consultant and Professional Development Provider

Liz Kenny

Adjunct Professor

Fairleigh Dickinson University


Dr. Elizabeth Landry

Instructional Specialist



Ashley Nichols

Instructional Coach and Board Member

The Reading League Georgia


Amanda Nickerson

Literacy Technical Assistance Specialist



Jamey Peavler

Co-Director and Instructor

Reading Science Graduate Program at Mount St. Joseph University

Julie Shirer

Instructional Facilitator

Cleveland City Schools


Dr. Anne Whitney

Clinical Professor

University of Colorado, Boulder


Review Editors

Kenni Alden


Right to Read Project

Margaret Goldberg


Right to Read Project

Krista Easton

Educator and Curriculum Consultant

Tiffany Aden

Literacy Consultant


Mollie Cura

Literacy Consultant


Top rated

Exemplary Materials

The evaluation has identified the following exemplary materials as recommended for use due to comprehensive coverage of all five components - as well as covering assessments.

Explore All Materials


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