The undergraduate teacher preparation program at Mississippi University for Women has been recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for its rigorous preparation of future teachers in how to teach reading, earning an “A” grade in NCTQ’s new report, Teacher Prep Review: Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction.


The program is among just 23% nationwide to earn an “A” from NCTQ for meeting standards set by literacy experts for coverage of the most effective methods of reading instruction—often called the “science of reading.”

“We have outstanding faculty who emphasize reading and who have made sure our courses align both with best practices in reading education and the state’s Foundations of Reading licensure exam. In addition, our Jumpstart early literacy program allows college students the opportunity to teach reading skills to preschool children and is fully integrated into the School of Education,” said Dr. Martin Hatton, dean of the School of Education at The W.

National data shows that more than one-third of fourth grade students—over 1.3 million children—cannot read at a basic level. By preparing teachers in the methods that research has shown to work best, results can change.

He added, “We view reading as the foundation to education. No other skill holds more prominence for early education.”

To evaluate the quality of preparation being provided, a team of experts at NCTQ analyzed syllabi, including lecture schedules and topics, background reading materials, class assessments, assignments and opportunities to practice instruction in required literacy courses for undergraduate elementary teacher candidates at The W. To earn an “A,” programs needed to meet NCTQ’s targets for coverage of the five core components of scientifically based reading instruction—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension—and not teach more than three instructional methods that are unsupported by the research on effective reading instruction.

Hatton said, “Our elementary education program is uniquely designed with intensive student teaching experiences called residencies. elementary education students take content courses that are grouped together as a block that is aligned with a residency, and each block emphasizes a particular set of skills that allow students to demonstrate in the corresponding residency. Students develop and test their skills under the mentorship of School of Education faculty and highly qualified classroom teachers.”

The School of Education at The W offers a K-6 licensure route which allows students to choose two concentration areas from English, math, science and social studies with the option to obtain licensure endorsements to teach your selected concentration areas in grades 7-12. Alongside top-notch classes, The W’s education programs include residency courses to provide more classroom experience than any other program in the state.

While some portion of children will learn to read naturally, over five decades of research have established the components of explicit, scientifically based reading instruction that help most students become successful readers. Research suggests that over 90% of children could learn to read if their teachers used instructional methods grounded in the science of reading. The W is proud to be recognized among the programs ensuring that future elementary teachers enter the classroom equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to help students become strong readers.

The new NCTQ analysis of teacher preparation programs’ coverage of the science of reading was developed over the course of two years, involving teams of literacy experts, researchers, teacher preparation leaders and educators. NCTQ evaluated 693 traditional undergraduate and graduate programs across the country, including 10 in Mississippi. Overall, just 112 programs earned an A and 48 earned an A+.

See the NCTQ report for more information about The W’s coverage of the science of reading and to see how it compares to other programs in Mississippi or across the country.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.