Novice Teachers’ Knowledge of Reading-related Disabilities and Dyslexia

Erin K. Washburn, Candace A. Mulcahy, Gail Musante and R. Malatesha Joshi:

Current understandings about the nature of persistent reading problems have been influenced by researchers in numerous fields. Researchers have noted that a current and accurate understanding of reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, can be helpful in assessing, teaching and supporting indi- viduals with persistent reading problems. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine novice teachers’ knowledge about characteristics of reading disability and dyslexia and whether or not certification type, certification grade level and/or exposure to reading content predicted teacher knowledge. Participants (n=271) were enrolled in undergradu- ate and graduate teacher preparation programs across the United States, and were asked to identify characteristics of reading disability and dys- lexia. Responses were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. Findings revealed that teachers had accurate understandings when asked about reading disability, but misconceptions when asked about dyslexia. Cer- tification type, certification grade level, and exposure to reading content did not predict accurate understandings of reading disability or dyslexia; however, certification grade level did predict misconceptions about dys- lexia.

Related: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.

Foundations of Reading; Wisconsin’s one teacher content knowledge requirement.