Education and Human Development

Teacher preparation for reading instruction

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is committed to preparing teachers who understand and can apply research-backed teaching methodologies that will help all students become proficient readers.

Our licensure programs fully prepare teachers to address the five pillars named in the National Reading Panel report and supported by the science of reading. In addition, we prepare teachers who center reading instruction around the individual needs of their students, acknowledging that cultural background, linguistic diversity, and lived experience impact the way children become literate.

Five pillars of early reading

Reading is impacted by social, cultural, and textual factors.

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

Reading instruction should be differentiated to meet the needs of each learner.

Preparing students

Teachers of developing readers prepared at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities:

  • Know how to develop students’ phonological and phonemic awareness
  • Use phonics and other purposeful strategies to help students learn to decode and encode text
  • Fully meet the Minnesota State Standards for Teacher Preparation in Reading
  • Apply evidence-based instructional strategies in early literacy classrooms
  • Know how to support the reading development of multilingual learners
  • Identify the characteristics of and methods to address dyslexia
  • Use assessment data to inform and differentiate reading instruction

National Reading Panel. (2000) Report of the National Reading Panel--Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


    Post Baccalaureate Elementary Education Licensure Program:

    Teacher candidates in our largest licensure program complete an undergraduate major in the foundation of education followed by a one-year intensive graduate level of study that includes a year-long placement in an elementary school. Their undergraduate coursework consists of a linguistics course and a field experience working with a developing reader.

    • CI 3610 - Linguistics for Teachers (3 cr)
    • CI 5413 - Foundations of Reading (3 cr)
    • CI 5414 - Field Experience: Working with Developing Readers (2 cr)
    • CI 5425 - Reading Instruction in the Elementary Grades (3 cr)
    • CI 5426 - Language Arts Instruction in the Elementary Grades (3 cr)
    • CI 5645 - Teaching Multilingual Learners (3 cr) 

    Early Childhood Education Licensure Program (Birth-Gr 3 license):

    Teacher candidates in Early Childhood Education, licensed to teach through grade 3, complete the same 17 language and literacy-focused credits as in our elementary post-baccalaureate program listed above.

    Minnesota Grow Your Own Elementary Education Licensure Program (MNGOT) and Dual Language Immersion Elementary Education Licensure Program (DLI-L):

    Teacher candidates in our Multiple Pathways to Teaching programs (MNGOT and DLI-L) complete two years of coursework while working in a school. They complete four semesters of literacy-focused instruction and 30+ hours of primary-level field experience tied to CI 5980 - Clinical Experiences.

    • CI 5452 - Reading in the Content Areas (1 cr)
    • CI 5211 - Elementary Education Content and Pedagogy I: Reading Development; Setting Up a Literate Environment; Children's Literature (2 cr)
    • CI 5212 - Elementary Education Content and Pedagogy II: Phonemic Awareness and Phonics (1 cr)
    • CI 5213 - Elementary Education Content and Pedagogy III: Oral Language and Vocabulary (1 cr)
    • CI 5214 - Elementary Education Content and Pedagogy IV: Comprehension Processes and Instruction; Writing and Genre Instruction (1 cr)

    Special Education Program: Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) license:

    Teacher candidates in special education complete multiple courses in which reading standards are embedded, and have opportunities to practice applied skills in field experiences:

    • EPSY 5613 - Foundations of Special Education I (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5614 - Assessment and Due Process in Special Education (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5617 - Academic and Social Interventions for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5618 - Specialized Interventions for Students With Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Reading & Written Language (3 cr)
    • EPSY 5704 - Clinical: Field Experiences in Middle and Secondary (HS/T) Special Education Classrooms
    • EPSY 5705 - Field Experiences in ECSE or Elementary Special Education Classrooms
    • CI 5655 - Teaching Multilingual Learners in Special Education Contexts (this course name/designator will be changing from CI 5645; submitted to Curriculum Council's March meeting) (3 cr)

    There are several laws that define Minnesota’s expectations for the preparation of pre-service teachers in reading. 122A.092, subdivision 5 directs the teacher preparation providers to include comprehensive, scientifically based reading instruction as defined in 122A.06, subdivision 4.  Additional requirements in 122A.092, subdivision 5 include:

    • Teacher candidates must be instructed in using students' native languages as a resource in creating effective differentiated instructional strategies for English learners developing literacy skills. 
    • Early childhood and elementary teacher candidates for Tier 3 and Tier 4 teaching licenses under sections 122A.183 and 122A.184, respectively, must be prepared for the portion of the examination under section 122A.185, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), covering assessment of reading instruction.
    • Early childhood and elementary teacher candidates must require instruction in applying comprehensive, scientifically based or evidence-based, and structured reading instruction programs that (1) teach students to read using foundational knowledge, practices, and strategies consistent with section 122A.06, subdivision 4, so that all students achieve continuous progress in reading; and (2) teach specialized instruction in reading strategies, interventions, and remediations that enable students of all ages and proficiency levels to become proficient readers.
    • Teacher preparation programs for teachers of elementary education, early childhood education, special education, and reading intervention must include instruction on dyslexia, as defined in section 125A.01, subdivision 2. Instruction on dyslexia must be modeled on practice standards of the International Dyslexia Association and must address: 
      • the nature and symptoms of dyslexia; 
      • resources available for students who show characteristics of dyslexia; 
      • evidence-based instructional strategies for students who show characteristics of dyslexia, including the structured literacy approach; and 
      • outcomes of intervention and lack of intervention for students who show characteristics of dyslexia.

    1 National Reading Panel. (2000) Report of the National Reading Panel--Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

    Pre-service preparation licensure requirements and standards are determined and monitored by Minnesota’s Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board. Given elementary, early childhood, and special education teachers work most closely with developing readers, the standards for their preparation are robust. To review the current standards for these programs, see the following:

    • ElEd 8710.3200. See Subp. 3 B-G which are specific to reading
    • EC 8710.3000. See Subp 3 E-H which are specific to reading
    • SpEd 8710.5000. See Subp 1 B, Subp 2 C (10), and Subp 3 B specific to reading

    Yes, the literacy coursework is aligned with the five pillars named in the National Reading Panel report and other research on developing readers. And, as it is our responsibility in our PELSB-accredited teacher preparation programs to ensure that our teacher candidates meet all state standards as part of their preparation for the profession, our candidates learn to make connections between components and across disciplines. 

    Our college is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially in our teaching, research, and engagement activities, including the many facets of working with developing readers. We are committed to advancing research in early literacy and contributing to scholarship in the field while working with families, educators, and leaders in schools to improve knowledge and practice. We serve the public as a research-intensive land-grant institution, engaging with stakeholders in statewide conversations to improve reading outcomes and the preparation and development of pre-service and in-service teachers and school leaders.