Unlocking Success: Louisiana’s Bold Steps in Early Literacy

Louisiana has proudly ascended to the pinnacle of a national ranking, standing tall as a beacon of excellence in early literacy policies, as per this news release from the Louisiana Department of Education. According to the recently unveiled Early Literacy Matters resource by ExcelinEd, Louisiana finds itself in an elite group of states, standing shoulder to shoulder with Arkansas and North Carolina, as the only trio to have fervently embraced all 18 of ExcelinEd’s early literacy fundamental principles.

Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, expressed his satisfaction at the state’s achievements, remarking, “I was intentional about calling out our state’s literacy crisis early in my tenure and am pleased to see Louisiana leading the way with common sense reading reforms.” Dr. Brumley commended the concerted efforts of policymakers, educators, and parents, highlighting their crucial role in ensuring Louisiana studentsreap the benefits of these bold educational reforms.

The 18 early literacy fundamental principles underscore a comprehensive approach, encompassing policies for early identification, family engagement, teacher training and support, as well as intensive reading intervention. These principles serve as a robust foundation to equip students with the essential reading skills vital for their learning journey, graduation, and future success.

Among the noteworthy aspects of Louisiana’s commitment to literacy, the state mandates that all K–3 teachers undergo science of reading training. Additionally, a universal reading screener for K–3 students, parental notification for those identified with reading difficulties, elimination of three-cueing systems, and individualized reading plans for students with reading deficiencies are integral components of the state’s comprehensive literacy plan. Louisianastands out for monitoring students’ progress within a multi-tiered system of support and targeting their needs through evidence-based interventions grounded in the science of reading.

Joining the ranks of Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina, Mississippi and Florida trail closely behind with a score of 17 out of 18, while Texas achieved a commendable 10 out of 18.

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jenna Chiasson emphasized the need for sustained dedication and innovation, recognizing that progress in early literacy requires continuous effort. The results, she noted, reflect the positive impact of Louisiana’s commitment to early literacy, with advancements apparent both in classrooms and legislative initiatives.

Louisiana’s strides in literacy are evident in the Education Recovery Scorecard, revealing that the state is among the select few where average reading achievement in 2023 surpassed 2019 levels. Furthermore, Louisiana’s 4th graders soared to the top spot nationally for reading growth on The Nation’s Report Card, showcasing the effectiveness of the statewide initiative. Economically disadvantaged 4th graders in Louisiana demonstrated a remarkable improvement, moving from 42nd to 11th overall for reading proficiency between 2019 and 2022.

The Early Literacy Matters resource emerges as a crucial educational tool, addressing the paramount issue of learning to read. This pioneering website offers a 50-state literacy map, presenting a comprehensive overview of each state’s adoption of early literacy fundamentals. It not only serves as a legislative compass but also delves into states’ implementation strategies, providing insights into how they are enhancing literacy outcomes and narrowing learning gaps.

ExcelinEd, the driving force behind this initiative, remains committed to supporting state leaders in transforming education. Their focus on educational quality, innovation, and opportunity, both within and outside the traditional system, positions them as advocates for a broad range of student-centered policies.

In conclusion, Louisiana’s position at the forefront of the national list for its comprehensive literacy policy reflects a commendable commitment to fostering early literacy skills. The state’s success story offers valuable lessons for educators, policymakers, and parents nationwide. As we celebrate these achievements, it becomes essential to understand the core concepts that underpin effective early literacy policies.

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Reading Instruction at University of Louisiana at Lafayette Recognized by NCTQ

Effective reading instruction is crucial for the development of elementary school students, so it’s all the more essential and impressive that The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Education & Human Development has recently received recognition for its exceptional undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program, as per this news release from the school. In a national report by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), the program was awarded an impressive “A: grade. This non-profit education research and policy organization based in Washington, D.C., evaluated programs across the country to determine their effectiveness in equipping future teachers with the necessary knowledge and skills for teaching reading.

Dr. Toby Daspit, a professor in the College of Education & Human Development and the leader of the Department of Educational Curriculum and Instruction, emphasized the importance of scientifically based instruction methods in combating high illiteracy rates nationwide. These comprehensive approaches provided by the NCTQ offer a solid foundation for future elementary teachers to address the reading needs of their students effectively.

According to the NCTQ, more than one-third of fourth-grade students in the United States struggle to read at a basic level. By recognizing and accrediting programs that effectively teach reading instruction, the NCTQ aims to improve the quality of education and combat the literacy crisis. The acknowledgment received by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Education & Human Development highlights the dedication of its faculty members and the innovative curriculum they have developed to meet current national and state needs.

The NCTQ analyzed various elements of the syllabi, lecture schedules, background reading materials, class assessments, assignments, and opportunities for practice in required literacy courses offered to undergraduate elementary teacher candidates. Their evaluation aimed to assess the programs’ effectiveness in teaching the five core components of scientifically-based reading instruction, as defined by the NCTQ:

  1. Phonemic awareness: The recognition of sounds made by spoken words.
  2. Phonics: Mapping those sounds onto letters and combinations of letters.
  3. Fluency: The ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression.
  4. Vocabulary: Expanding students’ word knowledge.
  5. Comprehension: Enhancing students’ understanding of what they read.

The NCTQ is a nonpartisan organization founded in 2000 with the goal of ensuring every child has effective teachers and every teacher has the opportunity to be effective. With two decades of research and policy analysis, the NCTQfocuses on aligning teacher preparation to research-driven practices and strengthening policies and practices related to teacher quality. Their work encompasses areas such as recruitment, assignment, evaluation, development, and compensation. The organization is staffed by former teachers and funded by various foundations and philanthropic individuals, excluding federal funding.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Education & Human Development is dedicated to preparing future educators who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and empathy necessary to make a positive impact on the lives of their students. The college offers a comprehensive range of programs and degrees, including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in various fields of education. Students have the opportunity to engage in practical experiences, internships, and research projects that enhance their understanding of educational theories and practices.

ULL’s College of Education & Human Development has achieved significant recognition for its undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program, particularly in the field of reading instruction. By aligning their curriculumwith research-driven practices and addressing the five core components of scientifically based reading instruction, the program equips future teachers with the necessary skills to promote strong literacy skills in elementary students. The NCTQ’s evaluation and acknowledgment reflect the university’s commitment to excellence in education and its dedication to producing highly skilled and effective teachers.

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