Education Program Named Among the Best in The Nation

Undergraduate Program One of Only 48 in the U.S. to Earn Highest Distinction
from the National Council on Teacher Quality for Preparing Aspiring Teachers in
the Most Effective Methods for Teaching Reading

Rio Grande, Ohio—The undergraduate teacher preparation program at University of Rio Grande has been recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) as among the best in the nation in preparing future elementary teachers to teach children to read, earning an A+ distinction in NCTQ’s new report, Teacher Prep Review: Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction.

Sun reflects on the windows of Anniversary Hall home of the School of Education

The program is among just 48 nationwide and four in Ohio highlighted by NCTQ for going above and beyond the 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 devastating results.

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 elementary teacher candidates at University of Rio Grande. To earn an A+ distinction, programs needed to comfortably exceed 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 any instructional practices that are unsupported by research, such as the debunked three-cueing method, which can inhibit students’ progress in reading.

While some portion of children will learn to read naturally, over five decades of research have established the components of explicit, 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. Rio 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.

“’We are very pleased to have earned such a high rating from the National Council on Teacher Quality. This is something that the staff and students should be very proud of receiving.“ Lynley Carey, Dean of the College of Arts & Science said.  

Carey added, “It is important to the staff in the education department to always provide our students with the most up-to-date instruction in order to prepare them to be the most successful teachers in the future.”

Rio’s  Primary (PK-5) & Intervention Specialist (PK-5) program prepares to teach students preschool through 5th grade.  Together, we will explore principles of development, strategies, laws, specific skills, and knowledge necessary to teach all students in the general education and intervention classrooms.  Gain experience through engaging collaborative work in the classroom and during immersive field experiences in local elementary schools.

“The University of Rio Grande program serves as a proof point,” said Dr. Heather Peske, NCTQ President. “Other teacher preparation leaders and faculty across the country must take note. There are programs that are doing this right, ensuring that their elementary teacher candidates get the preparation in how to teach reading that they both want and deserve.”

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 26 in Ohio. Overall, just 23% of programs earned an A or A+ grade (112 programs earned an A and 48 earned an A+).

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