LOGAN – Utah State University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program is one of 15 nationally to earn an A+ for exemplary coursework in early reading instruction.
Cindy Jones is director of the literacy clinic, housed in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. She said every undergraduate elementary education student works for one semester in the clinic with elementary school students from area schools.
”Parents can stay and observe what’s happening,” Jones explained. “And the undergraduate students work one-on-one twice a week, half hour sessions with the children. One of the big impacts, as well, is that because parents come, and have the opportunity to stay and watch, parents are also learning some techniques that they then apply at home.”
She said the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) cited USU’s strong commitment to what is called evidence-based reading instruction when it announced the national award.
”We really do focus on what we know to be effective instructional practices, not only those components that we need to teach,” she added, “but how to teach them effectively, with explicit instruction in reading.”
The NCTQ announcement pointed to USU’s understanding that reading ability is is a key predictor of future educations gains.
Dr. Jones said personnel at school districts tell her that the undergraduates who go through the experience in USU’s literacy lab have a better understanding of what they are to teach, how to each it and that they believe they can help students who have difficulty with reading or with writing.
“What makes USU different is that we want our tutors to know what a real classroom is like and create lesson plans,” said Jones. “This clinic would not exist without Dean (Beth) Foley. She advocates for us and makes sure we have the resources and equipment that we use and enjoy every day.”