The University of Virginia's Elementary Teacher Education program's literacy coursework is designed based in the most recent reading science and aligns the acquisition of new content, review opportunities and spiraling of common content alongside cohesive practice opportunities. The Masters in Teaching in Elementary Education is a one-year program, running June through May. Preservice teacher candidates complete coursework on the foundations of reading development with applied practice with evidence-based classroom methods. This work is grounded in reading science, which allows candidates to understand the necessity of explicit and systematic instruction in the early grades in foundational reading skills (alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, and phonics) with concurrent development of oral language skills and background knowledge to develop students into readers who gain meaning from written text (i.e., reading comprehension). The reading methods course also highlights reading and early language instruction for diverse learners including English Learners and speakers of non mainstream English.

The teacher education program's reading methods courses develop teacher knowledge alongside practical application in classroom settings. In addition to the reading methods coursework, teacher candidates complete a clinical experience prior to their student teaching experience. This experience provides opportunities for students to practice scientifically aligned reading instruction during the placement's language arts block. Throughout the program, students engage with 1) the overarching concepts of science-based reading development, 2) assessment practices, and 3) pedagogical skills based on evidence from multiple disciplines, including cognitive and developmental sciences, neuroscience, linguistics, education, and communication sciences.

Dr. Emily Solari
Edmund H. Henderson Professor of Education, School of Education and Human Development
University of Virginia

Dr. Latisha Hayes
Associate Professor, School of Education and Human Development
University of Virginia

EDIS 5221: Introduction to Reading Foundations

First in the literacy series, this introduces theoretical foundations of how children learn to read and write as well as the difficulties some children encounter as they progress in their literacy development. The course addresses basic components of effective literacy programs with attention to the needs of diverse learners.

EDIS 5310: Differentiating Reading Instruction

In this course, teacher candidates consider the vital role in providing appropriate differentiated instruction for all learners, including English Learners and speakers with linguistic variation. Candidates learn to administer, interpret, and use literacy assessments to plan effective and comprehensive reading instruction for whole group, small group, and individuals for multilevel literacy classrooms.


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