WNPR

Aspiring Teachers In Connecticut Face Rigorous Tests For Teaching Reading Skills

Aug 13, 2018

Connecticut teachers are among the most prepared in the country to teach children how to read, according to a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Reading is considered the foundation of all other learning, so it stands to reason that teaching children how to read is also a big deal.

It turns out that Connecticut is doing a pretty good job. It's one of 11 states that requires elementary and special education teachers pass a rigorous test of the science of reading to be certified.

Elizabeth Ross, managing director of state policy at the National Council on Teacher Quality, said Connecticut should be commended.

"Maintaining these requirements helps to ensure that all Connecticut students, including Connecticut students with disabilities, have access to teachers who know how to teach them how to read," Ross said. "And it's critically important that they maintain them and so we're excited to highlight Connecticut's good work in this space."

About two decades ago, a panel examined 40 years of research that studied the best ways to teach reading. One of the biggest struggles for many states is that requirements for special ed teachers are not as rigorous as it is for other teachers.

"And our concern there is related to the high percentage of students who are referred for special education services as a result of the fact that they have reading difficulties," Ross said. 

Starting last school year, special ed teachers in Connecticut were required to learn about interventions they could use to help students with dyslexia. And starting this year, special ed and early childhood teachers need to complete a program that helps them identify students who might have dyslexia, and use the right kind of interventions to help them learn to read.

The report did not address whether Connecticut teacher have access to ongoing professional development to help them stay on top of the latest research around reading. Ross said that can be just as important as the certification process.