DSU named one of the nation’s top education programs for early reading instruction

The National Council on Teacher Quality recently named Dixie State University’s Elementary Education program as one of the top in the country for its strong commitment to evidence-based reading instruction.

Dixie State was one of only 15 undergraduate elementary programs in the nation to earn the not-for-profit research and policy organization’s A+ rating for reading instruction.

“This recognition confirms our efforts in focusing our instruction on early development literacy instruction,” Brenda Sabey, dean of Dixie State’s College of Education, said. “We have multiple classes on literacy: one for early literacy, one for intermediate literacy and one for language arts. Our program has this emphasis all the way through.”

As a top-performing program, Dixie State serves as a model of excellence for other institutions due to its exemplary coursework, explicit and repeated instruction on the essential components of reading, support for instruction with high-quality textbooks and opportunities for teacher candidates to demonstrate mastery through in-class assignments, tests and instructional practice.

The council’s recently released report, 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Program Performance in Early Reading Instruction, reveals that 51 percent of the more than 1,000 evaluated traditional elementary teacher preparation programs earned an A or B grade for their coverage of the key components of the science of reading. This is up from 35 percent seven years ago.

The findings are a positive sign, as the U.S. has notoriously high rates of illiteracy, with well over a million public school students arriving in the fourth grade are added to the nation’s ranks of nonreaders each year.

“Resistance to teaching what is scientifically based has been so formidable,” Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ, said. “The scale is now tipping in favor of science, and the real winners here are the students who will learn to read.”

Dixie State’s College of Education combats this resistance by maintaining rigorous and practicum-based courses.

“Our courses are very much research based on what materials and methods are successful at teaching children reading skills,” Sabey said. “Plus from the beginning, our students get hands-on experience with excellent mentor teachers from Washington County School District.”

Dixie State’s Department of Education develops qualified teachers by providing engaging and rigorous classes in the essential areas of teaching, practicum experiences in a variety of settings and mentoring from experienced professors. For more information on Dixie State University’s teacher education programs, visit education.dixie.edu.