The persistent reading struggles and failure of nearly 40 percent of all American children, little improved over time, has led to aggressive government-funded efforts in school districts to train veteran teachers in the science of reading. The accumulated scientific findings of nearly 60 years of research gained the nation’s attention with the release of a number of significant reviews and compendia of the research beginning in 1990, but most notably the National Reading Panel report in 2000. The findings call for explicit, systematic teaching of phonemic awareness and phonics, guided oral reading to improve fluency, direct and indirect vocabulary building, and exposure to a variety of reading comprehension strategies. All this attention on veteran teachers begs the question: How are future teachers being prepared to teach reading? In this study, the National Council on Teacher Quality makes a unique effort to learn what aspiring teachers are taught about reading instruction. From a randomly selected, representative sample of 72 education schools, NCTQ reviewed 223 required reading courses, including evaluations of syllabi as well as 227 required reading texts. Schools were scored on how well their courses presented the core components of the science of reading. The findings are alarming. Only 15 percent of the education schools provide future teachers with minimal exposure to the science. Moreover, course syllabi reveal a tendency to dismiss the scientific research in reading, continuing to espouse approaches to reading that will not serve up to 40 percent of all children. Course texts were equally disappointing. Only four of the 227 texts were rated as “acceptable” for use as a general, comprehensive textbook. This distressing trend in teacher training demands attention from federal and state governments, professional organizations dedicated to improving and supporting education schools, textbook publishers, and educations schools themselves. The report closes with recommendations to ameliorate this serious failure in adequately preparing teachers in the best practices of reading instruction.
What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading (pdf file)
National Council on Teacher Quality
special ed teachers not trained to remediate dyslexia
what ed schools aren't teaching about reading