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DSU Among Top in U.S. for Preparing Teachers to Teach Reading

By June 19, 2023Academics

Undergraduate Program Earns an “A” Letter Grade in New Report from the National Council on Teacher Quality

CLEVELAND, Miss. — The undergraduate teacher preparation program at Delta State University has been recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for its 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 program is among just 23% nationwide 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.”

Dr. Andy Novobilski, DSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “A solid education is formed on the foundation of a student’s ability to read. The result is a life long learner. Delta State is proud to be able to teach teachers the way to share the gift of reading with their students.”

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 Delta State University. 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.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, Dean of the College of Education, said, “I commend the faculty in the elementary education program for the manner in which they approach preparing pre-service teachers to be strong literacy teachers. Our faculty continually hone their knowledge of and ability to model best practice—attending trainings and working with K-12 partner schools to ensure that teacher candidates can be effective literacy teachers on day one of their careers.”

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. Delta State University 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.

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 10 in Mississippi. Overall, just 112 programs earned an A and 48 earned an A+.

NCTQ is a nonpartisan research and policy organization on a mission to ensure every child has access to an effective teacher and every teacher has the opportunity to be effective. For more information about NCTQ, visit