NNU earns high marks for preparing reading teachers


An Idaho university has earned high marks for preparing reading teachers, according to a national report released Thursday.

Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa combines excellent instruction in the five key components of reading instruction — phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension — with the use of high-quality textbooks, the Washington, D.C.-based National Council on Teacher Quality said.

NNU received an A-plus grade in the NCTQ’s Landscapes report on undergraduate elementary education programs. Only 13 of 820 colleges and universities received an A-plus grade for preparing reading instructors.

However, the NCTQ said the nation’s colleges and universities are doing a better job of preparing reading teachers. All told, 39 percent of colleges and universities now provide research-based instruction in all five key elements of reading instruction; in 2014, that figure was 29 percent.

NNU’s high grade comes as Idaho is focusing renewed attention and increased taxpayer money on young readers. Idaho is in the first year of an $11.25 million initiative designed to provide extra help to at-risk readers. According to annual fall testing results, about 40 percent of kindergarten through third-grade students show up for school reading below grade level.

Coming next week: Idaho Education News and Idaho Public Television’s “Idaho Reports” team up to take a closer look at the state’s literacy initiative.

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