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Jun 21, 2023 | News

The undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs at Northwest Nazarene University have been recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for their rigorous preparation of future teachers in how to teach reading, earning an “A” grade in NCTQ’s new report, Teacher Prep Review: Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction.

The programs are among just 23% nationwide and three in Idaho to earn an “A” from NCTQ for meeting standards set by literacy experts for coverage of the most effective methods of reading instruction—often called the “science of reading.”

National data shows that more than one-third of fourth-grade students—over 1.3 million children—cannot read at a basic level. By preparing teachers in the methods that research has shown to work best, we can change these results for the better.

To evaluate the quality of preparation being provided, a team of experts at NCTQ analyzed syllabi, including lecture schedules and topics, background reading materials, class assessments, assignments and opportunities to practice instruction in required literacy courses for undergraduate and graduate elementary teacher candidates at NNU. To earn an “A,” programs needed to meet NCTQ’s targets for coverage of the five core components of scientifically based reading instruction—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension—and not teach more than three instructional methods that are unsupported by the research on effective reading instruction.

While some portion of children will learn to read naturally, over five decades of research have established the components of clear, scientifically based reading instruction that help most students become successful readers. Research suggests that over 90% of children could learn to read if their teachers used instructional methods grounded in the science of reading. NNU is proud to be recognized among the programs ensuring that future elementary teachers enter the classroom equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to help students become strong readers.

“Teacher preparation programs at Northwest Nazarene University heavily focus on Science of Reading instruction and pedagogy,” said LoriAnn Sanchez, Dean of NNU’s College of Education. “This creates exceptionally well-prepared teachers who effectively facilitate student learning in the area of reading.”

NNU’s College of Education offers nationally accredited Educator Preparation Programs consistently ranked as #1 in Idaho, across the Northwest and nationally by a multitude of organizations. Graduate and undergraduate programs regularly receive regional and national commendations, are recognized as a best value in education program, are cited for outstanding educator preparation and for being a college of distinction.

The new NCTQ analysis of teacher preparation programs’ coverage of the science of reading was developed over the course of two years, involving teams of literacy experts, researchers, teacher preparation leaders and educators. NCTQ evaluated 693 traditional undergraduate and graduate programs across the country, including six in Idaho. Overall, just 112 programs earned an A and 48 earned an A+.

See the NCTQ report for more information about Northwest Nazarene University’s coverage of the science of reading and to see how Northwest Nazarene University compares to other programs in Idaho or across the country.

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