Thirty-eight percent of teacher-education programs are failing to prepare future teachers to teach reading using the most effective methods, according to a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, writes Kate Rix on The 74. Fifty-one percent of programs earned an “F” or “D,” while 23 percent received an “A.”
Teaching reading is the top priority in the early grades. As districts and states shift to what’s called the “science of reading,” many veteran teachers — trained to use “balanced literacy” or “whole language” methods that don’t work very well — need to retraining. You’d think the new teachers would be prepared, but many ed schools are slow to change.
Teachers need to understand how to teach phonemic awareness (hearing and manipulating sounds in words), phonics (matching sounds with letters), fluency (reading without much effort), vocabulary and comprehension, says NCTQ. Most teacher-prep programs don’t cover all five adequately: Phonemic awareness is the most neglected.