Teacher Prep Review

Reviews of Reading
Textbooks Used in Teacher Preparation Programs

NCTQ regularly convenes reading experts — researchers, teacher educators, and experienced elementary educators — to review every textbook used by teacher preparation programs in their required reading coursework. These experts examine how well each textbook aligns with the science of reading, 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 every textbook used to teach aspiring teachers how to teach reading. These experts examine how well these textbooks adhere to the science of reading, which is rooted in 60+ years of research on what makes for the most effective reading instruction.

The 5 critical components

Experts evaluate how well each textbook 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 ratings

To rate each text, the expert reviewer determines if the text 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. Not Acceptable 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

Texts are grouped by the evaluators into categories according to the breadth of their content, which is determined based on the presence of the key components within the text's index. Comprehensive texts cover a broad spectrum of reading instruction subjects and content, and intend to cover all five components. Specialized texts address a specific reading component or a combination of reading components, but not all five. Synopsis texts are supplemental materials that provide summary information on one or more reading components.

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

Review our 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. Marcia Davidson

Global Director of Reading and Writing Instruction

Room to Read

Dr. Deborah Glaser

Education Consultant and Professional Development Provider


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 Textbooks

The textbook evaluation has identified the following exemplary textbooks as recommended for use due to comprehensive coverage of all five components - as well as covering assessment and/or struggling readers.

Explore All Textbooks


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