I was hired 4 years ago to align all reading courses to the Science of Teaching Reading (STR). Since that time, I have worked tirelessly to make sure that every competency is fully covered and reinforced throughout the coursework at a pace and with enough practice that allows students to truly gain understanding in a way that will affect their teaching. I tell my candidates clearly that the journey to understanding the science of teaching reading will take them the full three semesters they spend in reading coursework.
STR is not the reading instruction most of my students grew up experiencing; so, we take time to investigate each component and any time I feel there is an area that needs more or different emphasis, I rework the course. Just as STR emphasizes direct, explicit teaching, I model by pointing out the how and why of each component, tying it all to foundational models such as Scarborough's Rope and the Simple View of Reading. It also means that I provide professional development support to other faculty and adjunct faculty that teach any of the three courses to ensure we all present the material in the same manner.
Although higher education is built around the tenet of academic freedom, my colleagues in our teacher preparation program have discussed on many occasions that due to the fact that our candidates have several certification exams they are responsible for at the end of the degree, we do not have the same freedom to pick and choose the concepts we include in our coursework especially when it comes to research-based reading instruction. Instead, we choose to be very intentional with the content and practicum, so our graduates leave our program Day 1 Ready!
Dr. C. Kelly Cordray
Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Professional Programs in Education
Texas A&M University - Texarkana
RDG 350: Emergent Literacy Development
The purpose of this course is to provide the preservice EC-6 teacher with knowledge and skills necessary to promote early literacy development.