The Goal:

It is incumbent upon the universities and colleges of education to prepare all teaching professionals to pass new, stringent examinations before being assigned the responsibility of teaching children to read and become subject-matter literate.

The Overview:

Academic success requires a figure-ground shift for both higher education and school cultures: if our achievable goal is to have every student to learn to read at their highest potential, then every teacher must become a teacher of reading and writing. Reading literacy can no longer be seen as merely the purview of early reading teachers. Reading acquisition is the beginning of a long, tightly interwoven arc of literacy development, where the prefatory skills of early literacy prepare the child in Grade 4 for subject matter literacy that, in turn, guides secondary and tertiary education as well as supports the goals of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Without both the foundational and the developmental evolution of reading skills that transition from the proverbial "learning to read" to "reading to learn" stages of literacy, students will never attain their full educational potential.

The Charge:

Understanding what underlies the development of reading across time and also what forms of evidenced-based reading instruction are required by an individual student to reach his or her potential must be the charge of all teacher preparation programs, professional development programs, and school-wide programs. A new school culture with a vision that propels students toward their highest levels of achievement is demanded, and the first stepping-stone toward such a culture is the recognition that "full literacy" requires the full participation of all the teachers in a school across all years of schooling. Every teacher, every area contributes to the student's ability to use text to read, write, and think with increasing sophistication over time. The development of a future society of citizens who can use highly honed thinking skills-from inference and critical analysis to novel thought and creativity-depends on such a vision for the present schools.

Toward these ends, teachers and schools must (1) provide every opportunity for students to read, write, and practice their strategies, in every subject, every day; (2) help students enhance their development of reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for reading fluency and comprehension; and, (3) ultimately, provide support structures that ensure that each student achieves full English literacy. Specifically, this means that students must possess the abilities to approach printed material with critical analysis, inference, and synthesis; to write with accuracy and coherence; and to use information and insights from text as the basis for informed decisions and creative thought.

The Foundation:

These requirements are informed by ongoing clinical research that documents how teachers of reading-using the particular approach to knowledge about reading that is provided in their teacher preparation and professional development programs-can either help or hinder a class of individual and diverse students in learning to read well. More specifically, there is extensive evidence that successful, expert teachers come from comprehensive teacher preparation and professional development programs that include rigorous training and evaluation. The training includes the linguistic, cognitive, and social-emotional aspects of reading development over time; the use of various reading methods that are empirically proven, evidence-based, and engaging; the use and translation of assessment procedures and data; the ability to match tailored instruction and known strategies to individual profiles of students (typical and SEEDS); and finally, an understanding of how data can be analyzed and used to chronicle student progress under these methods and strategies. These studies show that only "expert" teachers of reading are qualified to ensure that the great majority of students for whom they are responsible will thrive and become fluent readers who can read well, write well, and think well. Conversely, the same studies indicate that when teacher preparation programs and professional development programs leave out essential reading instruction methods and knowledge, these teachers will not be adequately prepared to teach reading in a way that will provide full literacy to all their students, especially students in the SEEDS community.

The Responsibility:

Teaching candidates, who will become responsible for the early reading development of students in grades K-3 along with those specializing in Reading, ELL, Title I, and Special Education, must pass the Advanced Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (ARICA). A passing score on this examination earns the teaching candidate a Teacher of Reading Certification. Content area teachers in grades 4-12 must pass the Basic Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (BRICA) in order to instruct their students in how to become reading and writing literate in their subject areas.

To achieve these goals, key professionals and candidates in the field of education-especially those who are responsible for teaching reading and English language arts-need and deserve to have the most comprehensive knowledge about reading and language development, about empirically proven methods of teaching, about differences in reading development among children, and about how to use assessment data to chronicle and refine individual progress in reading development. These professionals need the highest quality instruction and substantive support to become skilled teachers of reading and writing. The specific requirements for three capacities of teachers, their respective Reading Instruction Competence Teaching Assessments, and the required knowledge and skills in each capacity are as follows:

  • "Teachers of Reading" are certified by the state and are hereby defined as highly skilled experts in foundational reading and writing development; reading and writing literacy; and, speaking, listening, and language skills. Teachers of Reading are qualified educational professionals who, having passed the teaching Advanced Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (ARICA), are permitted to teach foundational reading development skills to all children in grades K-3.
  • "Teaching Specialists" are certified by the state and are hereby defined as highly skilled experts in foundational reading and writing development; reading and writing literacy; and, speaking, listening, and language skills, along with the specialty licensure English Language Learners, Title I, and Special Education in grades K-12. Teaching Specialists must pass the teaching Advanced Reading Instruction Competence Teaching Assessment (ARICA) to become certified as Teachers of Reading. The assessment ensures that these teachers are highly skilled and knowledgeable in the integration of knowledge and understanding of reading literacy, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills for their field of students.
  • "Content Area Teachers" are grades 4-12 subject teachers who are licensed by the state in their area of expertise. These teachers must be knowledgeable in the foundations of reading, writing, language, speaking and listening development, and comprehension and integration of knowledge, so that their students may become literate in their content areas. Content Area Teachers will take exams to receive content area licensure and are required to pass the teaching Basic Reading Instruction Teaching Assessment (BRICA).

By virtue of passing the Assessments, these teachers will be deeply respected and honored as true professionals, able to use their knowledge, expertise, and evolving experience in dynamic and flexible ways during daily interactions with diverse student populations, thereby ensuring that all students achieve reading literacy and become lifelong learners.

The Teachers Knowledge and Skills Required to pass ARICA:

*Foundational concepts about oral and written language learning include:

  • understanding and explaining the language processing requirements of proficient reading and writing, including phonological (speech sound), orthographic (print), semantic (meaning), syntactic (sentence level), and discourse (connected text level) processing
  • understanding and explaining other aspects of cognition and behavior that affect reading and writing, including attention, executive function, memory, processing speed, and graphomotor control
  • defining and identifying environmental, cultural, and social factors that contribute to literacy development, including language spoken at home, language and literacy experiences, and cultural values
  • knowing and identifying phases in the typical developmental progression of oral language (semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic), phonological skill, printed word recognition, spelling, reading fluency, reading comprehension, and written expression
  • understanding and explaining the known causal relationships among phonological skill, phonic decoding, spelling, accurate and automatic word recognition, text-reading fluency, background knowledge, verbal reasoning skill, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing
  • knowing and explaining how the relationships among the major components of literacy development change with reading development (i.e. changes in oral language, including phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, spelling, reading and writing fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension skills and strategies, and written expression),
  • knowing reasonable goals and expectations for learners at various stages of reading and writing development
  • understanding first and second language acquisition stages, the impact of culture on student performance, bilingual education and English as a Second Language programming and teaching methods, results of students' oral language proficiency in relation to the results of tests measuring academic achievement and cognitive processes, and results of similar or parallel tests given in more than one language

*Knowledge of the structure of language includes:

  • phonology (the sound system)-how to identify, pronounce, classify, and compare the consonant and vowel phonemes of English
  • orthography (the spelling system)-understanding the broad outline of historical influences on English spelling patterns, especially Anglo-Saxon, Latin (Romance), and Greek; defining "grapheme" as a functional correspondence unit or representation of a phoneme; recognizing and explaining common orthographic rules and patterns in English; knowing the difference between high-frequency and irregular words; and identifying, explaining, and categorizing six basic syllable types in English spelling
  • morphology-identifying and categorizing common morphemes in English such as Anglo-Saxon compounds; inflectional and derivational suffixes; Latin-based prefixes, roots, and derivational suffixes; and Greek-based combining forms
  • semantics-understanding and identifying examples of meaningful word relationships or semantic organization
  • syntax-defining and distinguishing among phrases, dependent clauses, and independent clauses in sentence structures and identifying the parts of speech and the grammatical role of a word in a sentence
  • discourse organization-explaining the major differences between narrative and expository discourse; identifying and constructing expository paragraphs of varying logical structures (e.g. classification, reason, sequence); and identifying cohesive devices in text and inferential gaps in the surface language of text

*Knowledge of SEEDS community and learning disorders includes:

  • understanding the most common intrinsic differences between good and poor readers (i.e. cognitive, neurobiological, and linguistic) recognizing the tenets of the NICHD/IDA definition of dyslexia and the U.S. IDEA 2004 definition of Specific Learning Disabilities
  • recognizing that SEEDS and other reading difficulties exist on a continuum of severity
  • identifying the distinguishing characteristics of SEEDS and related reading disorders (including developmental language comprehension disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, disorders of written expression or dysgraphia, mathematics learning disorder, nonverbal learning disorder, etc.)
  • identifying how symptoms of reading difficulty may change over time in response to development and instruction
  • understanding federal and state laws that pertain to learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ELL

*Interpretation and administration of assessments for planning instruction includes:

  • understanding the differences among screening, diagnostic, outcome, and progress-monitoring assessments
  • understanding basic principles of test construction, including reliability, validity, and norm-referencing, and knowing the best-validated screening tests designed to identify students at risk for reading difficulties
  • understanding the principles of progress-monitoring and the use of graphs to indicate progress
  • knowing the range of skills typically assessed by diagnostic surveys of phonological skills, decoding skills, oral reading skills, spelling, and writing
  • recognizing the content and purposes of the most common diagnostic tests used by psychologists and educational evaluators
  • interpreting measures of reading comprehension and written expression in relation to an individual child's component profile

*Structured language teaching of phonology includes:

  • identifying the general and specific goals of phonological skill instruction
  • knowing the progression of phonological skill development (i.e. rhyme, syllable, onset-rime, phoneme differentiation)
  • identifying the differences among various phonological manipulations, including identifying, matching, blending, segmenting, substituting, and deleting sounds
  • understanding the principles of phonological skill instruction (e.g. brief,multi-component, conceptual, and auditory-verbal
  • understanding the reciprocal relationships among phonological processing, reading, spelling, and vocabulary,
  • understanding the phonological features of a second language, such as Spanish, and how they interfere with English pronunciations and phonics

*Structured language teaching of phonics and word recognition includes:

  • knowing or recognizing how to order phonics concepts from easier to more difficult
  • understanding principles of explicit and direct teaching: model, lead, give guided practice, and review
  • stating the rationale for multi-component and multimodal techniques
  • knowing the routines of a complete lesson format, from the introduction of a word recognition concept to fluent application in meaningful reading and writing
  • understanding research-based adaptations of instruction for students with weaknesses in working memory, attention, executive function, or processing speed

*Structured language teaching of fluent, automatic reading of text includes:

  • understanding the role of fluency in word recognition, oral reading, silent reading, comprehension of written discourse, and motivation to read
  • understanding reading fluency as a stage of normal reading development, as the primary factor in some reading disorders, and as a consequence of practice and instruction
  • defining and identifying examples of text at a student's frustration, instructional, and independent reading level
  • knowing sources of activities for building fluency in component reading skills
  • knowing which instructional activities and approaches are most likely to improve fluency outcomes
  • understanding techniques to enhance students' motivation to read
  • understanding appropriate uses of assistive technology for students with serious limitations in reading fluency

*Structured language teaching of vocabulary includes:

  • understanding the role of vocabulary development and vocabulary knowledge in comprehension
  • understanding the role and characteristics of direct and indirect (contextual) methods of vocabulary instruction
  • knowing varied techniques for vocabulary instruction before, during, and after reading
  • understanding that word knowledge is multi-faceted
  • understanding the sources of wide differences in students' vocabularies

*Structured language teaching of text comprehension includes:

  • being familiar with teaching strategies that are appropriate before, during, and after reading and that promote reflective reading
  • contrasting the characteristics of major text genres, including narration, exposition, and argumentation
  • understanding the similarities and differences between written composition and text comprehension, and the usefulness of writing in building comprehension
  • identifying in any text the phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, and academic language that could be a source of miscomprehension
  • understanding levels of comprehension including the surface code, text base, and mental model (situation model)
  • understanding factors that contribute to deep comprehension, including background knowledge, vocabulary, verbal reasoning ability, knowledge of literary structures and conventions, and use of skills and strategies for close reading of text

*Structured teaching of handwriting, spelling, and written composition includes:

  • knowing research-based principles for teaching letter naming and letter formation, both manuscript and cursive
  • knowing techniques for teaching handwriting fluency
  • recognizing and explaining the relationship between transcription skills and written expression
  • identifying students' levels of spelling development and orthographic knowledge
  • recognizing and explaining the influences of phonological, orthographic, and morphemic knowledge on spelling
  • understanding the major components and processes of written expression and how they interact (e.g. basic writing/transcription skills versus text generation)
  • knowing grade and developmental expectations for students' writing in the following areas: mechanics and conventions of writing, composition, revision, and editing processes
  • understanding appropriate uses of assistive technology in written expression

The Oversight Duty of the State to the IHE's, Colleges of Education:

To ensure ongoing success, these guidelines shall be written to mandate rigor in the study of reading development. This shall be accomplished in consultation with an oversight panel consisting of persons with demonstrated mastery of the knowledge.

The state department of education, in consultation with an oversight panel of persons with demonstrated mastery of knowledge in literacy, must approve (1) a minor in reading and (2) ensure that the courses required in the reading minor of any teacher preparation program cover in depth the knowledge contained in these guidelines. Doing so will ensure that teaching candidates involved in any such program attain certification to become a ARICA certified teacher of reading.

Changes in syllabi are to be approved by the state department of education in consultation with an oversight panel of persons with demonstrated mastery of the knowledge of reading development and reading literacy, and experts in evaluation of the content and quality of teacher preparation programs who have conducted such reviews in other states.

The state department of education shall designate funding for a higher education collaborative to provide professional development for reading administrators and instructors in institutions of higher education. The collaborative shall meet a minimum of three times per year. In addition, it shall feature national reading experts as presenters on topics related to the knowledge of literacy and to preparing teacher candidates to become certified teachers of reading equipped with knowledge in all foundational reading skills.

Executive Summary