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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Teaching Special Education Credential Candidates to Teach Reading: What California State University Programs Do and how They Do It

  • Author(s): Alpert, How
  • Advisor(s): Kasari, Connie
  • Osipova, Anna
  • et al.

Students are not learning to read well in California public schools. This is particularly true for students in special education. If more of California’s students in special education are to demonstrate literacy skills to state and national standards, it will require more of their teachers teaching those skills. With the plurality of California special education credentials being earned through California State University (CSU) programs, CSU special education reading instruction courses have an out-sized effect on California’s special education teachers and, ultimately, their students. To improve students’ reading statewide, we must know more about what CSUs currently do to teach teachers to teach reading. This study describes what credential programs teach and the means they use to teach it by analyzing course documents and interviews with CSU credential program instructors. It finds that reading is taught as component parts and as part of something larger; teaching reading is taught as a cyclical alignment of assessment, planning, instruction, progress monitoring, and reflection; RICA has become an organizing policy and source of teaching materials for the courses; a shared but ill-defined theoretical value is balance; and a key distinction is between learning about teaching reading and learning to teach reading. This knowledge represents one step toward improving CSU’s contribution to California’s special education students’ reading achievement.

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