Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading Instruction

The state should ensure that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.

Best practices

Eight states meet this goal by requiring that preparation programs for elementary teacher candidates address the science of reading, and requiring that candidates pass comprehensive assessments that specifically test the five elements of instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Independent reviews of the assessments used by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia confirm that these tests are rigorous measures of teacher candidates' knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Elementary Teacher Preparation in Reading Instruction national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Elementary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Reading-Instruction--6
Best practice 3


Meets goal 5


Nearly meets goal 5


Meets goal in part 14


Meets a small part of goal 2


Does not meet goal 22


Research rationale

For evidence on what new teachers are not learning about reading instruction, see NCTQ, "What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning" (2006) at:

For problems with existing reading tests, see S. Stotsky, "Why American Students Do Not Learn to Read Very Well: The Unintended Consequences of Title II and Teacher Testing," Third Education Group Review 2 No. 2 (2006); and D. W. Rigden, Report on Licensure Alignment with the Essential Components of Effective Reading Instruction (Washington, D.C.: Reading First Teacher Education Network, 2006) at: 

For information on where states set passing scores on elementary level content tests for teacher licensing across the U.S., see chart on p. 13 of NCTQ "Recommendations for the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Removing the Roadblocks: How Federal Policy Can Cultivate Effective Teachers," (2011).