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One Educator Preparation Program’s Efforts to Reconceptualize Pre-Service Teachers’ Literacy Instruction with a Focus on the Science of Reading and Creating a Demonstration Classroom

Rebecca Jordan
Nicki Young
Professors Rebecca Jordan & Nicki Young

Reading and writing instruction in K-12 schools has seen a significant shift in recent years to focus on instructional practices grounded in scientific evidence. This shift has also occurred in educator preparation programs as the preparation programs are under increasing spotlight to account for teacher preparation and student achievement shortcomings. The shift is toward a body of evidence termed the “Science of Reading” (Anderson, Davis, Jordan, & Anderson, 2021).  The Science of Reading has become highly politicized as legislators mandate particular instructional practices and ban others. Funding has become tied to implementation of practices that are aligned with the Science of Reading. In 2022, the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) awarded subgrants to Educator Preparation Programs across the state to re-envision how they prepare pre-service teachers for literacy instruction. At Salem College, we used the subgrant for the following projects: (1) to revise two courses that focus on literacy instruction to more closely align with the Science of Reading; (2) to provide training to faculty in the Science of Reading; (3) to enhance our resource library for faculty and students; and (4) to create a Demonstration Classroom in the Curriculum Materials Center (CMC) in Gramley Library. During this presentation, Dr. Jordan and Dr. Young will explain how the revised literacy courses align with the Science of Reading and meet the International Literacy Association, International Dyslexia Association, and North Carolina Literacy Instruction Standards, among others. They will also share their vision for the Demonstration Classroom, along with pictures of its ongoing transformation. Lastly, they will close with next steps to ensure Salem College’s teacher candidates continue to enter the teaching workforce as well-prepared, highly-qualified candidates.


Professor Rebecca Jordan

Rebecca Jordan, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at Salem College. Her doctorate focused on Early Childhood, Special Education, and Literacy, and her career has been devoted to the intersection of these areas. She is a former elementary school teacher, reading specialist, and district leader. Her research interests center on how young children learn to read and write, and teachers' knowledge, skills, and beliefs around supporting emergent literacy. She has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including The Reading TeacherLiteracy Research and Instruction, Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, and Teaching and Teacher Education.

Professor Nicki Young

Nicki Young, Ph.D. is the Director of Educator Preparation and Assistant Professor of Education at Salem College. After beginning her career studying Humanities and Women's Studies, she began teaching first grade and shifted focus to the education of young children. Her career focus has been on literacy instruction, and how to best prepare teachers to meet the needs of all students. Her doctoral work focused on ways that teachers' engagement with professional development impacts their literacy instruction. In addition to years spent in higher education working with both pre-service and in-service teachers, Dr. Young spent several years serving North Carolina's children as a consultant at the Department of Public Instruction in the Office of Early Learning.