Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading – from the International Dyslexia Association (Executive Summary)
“Reading difficulties are the most common cause of academic failure and underachievement.
The NAEP consistently finds that about 36% of all fourth graders read at a level described as “below basic.”
Between 15 and 20% of young students are doomed to academic failure because of reading and language processing weaknesses, unless those weaknesses are recognized early and treated skillfully.
Another 20–30% are at risk for inadequate reading and writing development, depending on how—and how well—they are taught. Most of these at-risk students are ineligible for special education services and are dependent on the instruction given in the regular classroom or other supplementary services.
However, of those students who are referred to special education services in public schools, approximately 85% are having severe difficulties with language, reading, and writing.
Clearly, responsibility for teaching reading and writing must be shared by classroom teachers, reading specialists, and special education personnel.
Effective Instruction Is Key
Informed and effective classroom instruction, especially in the early grades, can prevent or at least effectively address and limit the severity of reading and writing problems. A large body of research evidence shows that with appropriate, intensive instruction, all but the most severe reading disabilities can be ameliorated in the early grades and students can get on track toward academic success.
The methods supported by research are those that are explicit, systematic, cumulative, and multisensory, in that they integrate listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
The content of effective instruction emphasizes:
- the structure of language, including the speech sound system (phonology),
- the writing system (orthography),
- the structure of sentences (syntax),
- the meaningful parts of words (morphology), meaning relationships among words and their referents (semantics),
- and the organization of spoken and written discourse.
The strategies emphasize planning, organization, attention to task, critical thinking, and self-management.
Teaching language, reading, and writing effectively, especially to students experiencing difficulty, requires considerable knowledge and skill.
Analyses of teacher licensing tests show that typically, very few are aligned with current research on effective instruction for students at risk.
To…promote more rigorous, meaningful, and effective teacher preparation and professional development, IDA has adopted this set of knowledge and practice standards.
IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading provide a content framework for courses and course sequences. In addition, they delineate proficiency requirements for practical application of this content (e.g., interpretation of assessments, delivery of differentiated instruction, and successful intervention with a child or adult with a reading disability).