Many teachers report they are not adequately prepared to meet the literacy and language needs of their students. Only 17% of teacher preparation programs in the nation equip elementary teachers to use all five components of reading instruction required to effectively teach reading proficiency to students in primary / elementary grades. Research shows “a lack of training for teachers and a gap between researchers and those working in the classroom on best practices are reasons why literacy instruction is a challenge.” (Nell Duke, Ed.D., University of Michigan).
The SAReads Literacy Academy provides training and applied learning experience to future teachers enrolled in the Texas A&M University-San Antonio's College of Education and Human Development. As an expansion of the literacy academy, SAReads is developing training and instructional support for practicing classroom teachers.
SAReads Tutor Corps
Undergraduates from A&M - SA’s College of Education and Human Development learn evidence-based literacy instruction techniques and apply those techniques tutoring sessions through the SAReads Reading Instruction Program. Tutors participate in SAReads as part of their college course, and 15% of their grade comes from participation in the SAReads Tutor Corps. Tutors are trained and monitored to ensure that each elementary student receives the benefit of science-based instruction.
Since 2012, more than 1000 future teachers have gained reading instruction experience through the SAReads Tutor Corps.
SAReads Teacher Training Pilot
The SAReads Teacher Training Pilot is the product of a collaborative group comprised of SAReads staff, Education Service Center-Region 20, Teach For America-San Antonio, the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, and Texas A&M University-San Antonio. This group has developed a pilot program that offers research-based literacy training to administrators, teachers, and staff delivered in short professional development sessions over the course of an academic year and supported by routine coaching. This multi-tiered model focuses on building sustained, embedded literacy instruction across the campus with an emphasis on the five components of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
High quality literacy instruction is critical for elementary students, especially students in some of San Antonio's historically segregated schools. UCLA Professor Pedro Noguera points out there are a few examples of segregated schools that produce high academic results: "They focus on literacy. The school. They make sure that every teacher, regardless of the subject they teach, is teacher of literacy, whether it be science, or math, or art, or music. Literacy is what’s promoted, because they understand that strong literacy skills, reading, writing, speaking, is key to a strong education."