The Role of Teacher Preparation in Literacy Instruction

Teacher preparation is vital for effective literacy instruction in the classroom. The best teachers care for their students and have the knowledge base to pass on to their classes and students. Reading is the pathway to learning and future success, especially for students who experience economic and social disadvantages. Teachers who are adequately trained in the science of reading make for the most effective reading instructors and can equip students with lifelong skills.

Research shows that students who don’t learn to read by the end of the third grade will remain poor readers throughout their lives. Students who struggle with reading also typically fall behind and are more apt to drop out of school, live in poverty and pass through the criminal justice system.

One main literacy issue, however, is that students are often not taught the correct way to read. To avoid setting students up to fail, educators should attend rigorous teacher preparation programs to best educate students in the classroom.

Why Teacher Preparation Matters

Scientific research on reading shows that our minds are not naturally wired to read like they are to talk. Children learn to talk by being talked to, but reading is a different challenge. Children need to be taught how certain letters represent certain sounds. While the methods for teaching literacy have morphed and changed over time, the National Reading Panel reviewed more than 100,000 reading studies. Their findings show indisputable evidence of what is effective for reading instruction.

The National Reading Panel has recognized five elements of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. If teachers were prepared with scientifically based reading methods, the rate of students experiencing reading failure would drop from 3 in 10 children to fewer than 1 in 10. According to the National Council on Teacher Quality’s (NCTQ) Teacher Prep Review, just over 50% of elementary teacher prep programs teach at least four of the five components of reading instruction. Teachers who receive this scientific instruction may be hired at faster rates than those who do not.

By addressing critical literacy issues, teachers can develop the potential to brighten the world of reading for every student. Some methods for this process include determining effective instructional strategies, designing a balanced approach combining foundational language and comprehension instruction, providing all students with the opportunity to learn, arranging access to high-quality content and taking advantage of any professional development opportunities.

How an Evidence-Based Literacy Education Can Help You

The Master of Education in Literacy online from Eastern Washington University (EWU) will expand your knowledge base of literary instruction and pedagogy. By learning the skills to boost student literacy, you can support the diverse learning needs of a K-12 classroom. This online M.Ed. program emphasizes the expertise you need to develop assessment skills and increase your impact as a literacy teacher. With this program, you will develop knowledge of the assessment/instruction cycle, learn to use a variety of assessment tools, foster literacy development, apply the results of evidence-based literacy research and learn a wide range of approaches, instructional practices, methods and materials to support instruction.

When you graduate, you will have a deep understanding of the scientific-pedagogical knowledge specific to literacy education. You’ll be prepared to take on the role of a reading specialist, Title 1 specialist, classroom teacher, district reading curriculum specialist and even an adjunct instructor at a college or university. With six-week courses and seven start dates a year, the M.Ed. in Literacy online program is a flexible program designed for working professionals.

Learn more about Eastern Washington University’s Online Master of Education – Literacy program.


American Public Media Reports: Hard Words: Why Aren’t Kids Being Taught to Read?

Institute for Education Sciences: Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade

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