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University earns an A for preparing students to teach reading

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Education received high marks for preparing prospective elementary school teachers how to teach reading.

Its undergraduate and graduate elementary teacher preparation programs earned As from the National Council on Teacher Quality in a national report released Monday. The non-profit education research and policy organization is based in Washington, D.C.

The NCTQ evaluated 1,000 programs for their effectiveness in giving students the knowledge to teach what it defines as “the five key components of the science of reading.”

They are:

  • phonemic awareness, which is recognition of sounds made by spoken words;
  • phonics, mapping those sounds onto letters and combinations of letters;
  • fluency, the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression;
  • building vocabulary; and
  • developing comprehension.

While many teaching models place emphasis on one element of instruction, such as phonics, NCTQ’s scientifically-based instruction methods offer a comprehensive approach.

Dr. Toby Daspit, interim head for UL Lafayette’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said the balanced approach is designed to combat high illiteracy rates nationwide.

According to the NCTQ, over a million public school students enter fourth grade each year unable to read.

“For students who fall behind in reading or literacy in elementary school, it’s almost impossible to catch up later in life,” Daspit said.