Act 1063 of 2017, the Right to Read Act, states: “Beginning no later than the 2022-2023 school year, each state-approved educator preparation program shall post on its website information describing its program to prepare teachers to teach reading using scientific reading instruction aligned with but not limited to the content measured by the stand-alone reading assessment adopted by the State Board of Education under § 6-17-402.”
Candidates enrolled in Elementary Education K-6 and Special Education K-12 programs must complete coursework and pass the Pearson Foundations of Reading Assessment to be considered proficient in scientific reading instruction to obtain a license. Candidates enrolled in all other licensure area programs must complete the coursework to possess an appropriate awareness level in scientific reading instruction to obtain a license.
In 2019, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education approved UA Little Rock pathways to meet this requirement. The pathways are aligned to the appropriate Science of Reading Competencies – Proficiency Level or Science of Reading Competencies – Awareness Level.
At UA Little Rock, our educator preparation programs (EPP) prepares candidates in the Science of Reading (SoR) at the initial and advanced levels. At the initial level, Elementary Education candidates complete 9-12 hours of literacy coursework aligned with the proficiency level of SoR; Special Education candidates complete 6 hours of literacy coursework aligned with the proficiency level for SoR; and candidates in both programs complete the Pearson Foundations of Reading Assessment for licensure. Middle Childhood Education candidates complete 3-6 hours of literacy coursework aligned with the awareness level of SoR; candidates completing the Education Minor (secondary education) complete 3-6 hours of coursework aligned with the awareness level of SoR depending on their areas of concentration.
At the graduate level, candidates in the K-12 M.Ed. initial licensure program complete 3-6 hours of coursework aligned with the awareness level of SoR. Candidates in the M.Ed. in Reading program complete a 30-hour program in which all courses reflect the Science of Reading components and philosophy. Candidates seeking licensure as a reading specialist in Arkansas are required to pass the Praxis Reading Specialist exam. Candidates seeking Counselor Education licensure complete 14 lessons in ArkansasIDEAS to gain awareness proficiency.
Candidates across all initial licensure programs study parts of SoR in courses such as methods coursework in their disciplines, teaching diverse learners, and curriculum and planning.
The School of Education Science of Reading content across all undergraduate and graduate licensure programs is reported to and approved by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. We also work with the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) to assure our course syllabi represent best practices in literacy. And in Fall 2022, the reading faculty will be working closely with faculty from the Reading Science Academy at Mount St. Joseph University to further develop our knowledge and practices.