Best Reading Teacher Education Programs

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Reading forms the foundation for student success in school. Yet, many students continue to struggle.

The National Center for Education Statistics reported that 65% of fourth-grade students scored below the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) proficient level in reading achievement. The NAEP proficient level indicates the student has shown solid academic performance and demonstrated competency with challenging subject matter.

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Teachers across the country are working to overcome students' learning loss due to disruptions to their education and school schedules caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states have focused on the need to help students read at their grade level.

A bachelor's in reading teacher education program can equip aspiring teachers with the skills necessary to help students overcome reading challenges and learn to love reading.

Earning a bachelor's in reading teacher education requires about four years of study, including a student teaching experience in a classroom. Some schools may offer online course options, though most programs do require in-person attendance.

Reading education programs allow aspiring teachers to study childhood development, instructional best practices, and literacy. Curriculum includes opportunities to observe teachers, plan engaging lessons, and instruct students.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 7% job growth for kindergarten and elementary school teachers from 2020-2030, with about 124,300 job openings, on average, each year. These teachers earned a median annual salary of $61,350, as of May 2021.

Our Top Pick

University of Michigan-Dearborn

Why It's #1: University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-Dearborn) is the No. 1 school ranked on the Best Reading Teacher Education Programs list. The school boasts a 56% graduation rate and a low student-teacher ratio of 16-to-1. More than 33% of students enroll in online education. The school reports in-state tuition of around $12,730. But 96% of students receive financial aid, and 64% are awarded loans. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and accepts 62% of applicants.

Read Our Rankings Methodology

Best Accredited Bachelor's in Reading Teacher Education Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

#1 Best Reading Teacher Education Programs

University of Michigan-Dearborn

  • Dearborn, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On-Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $580

Out of State | $1,216

Credits to Graduate

128

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

UM-Dearborn offers a bachelor's in reading teacher education program that meets Michigan standards for elementary teacher certification. The curriculum includes courses in literature for children, reading in content areas, and literacy assessment. The program concludes with a capstone course in literacy education and 6-12 credits for a teaching internship. 

In addition to its teacher preparation programs, UM-Dearborn also hosts regional libraries and research initiatives aimed at improving classroom instruction, including the Curriculum Knowledge Center, Early Childhood Education Center, and the Inquiry Institute.

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,729
Out-of-state
$25,845
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
62%
Students Enrolled
9,191
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Reading Teacher Education Programs

Eastern Washington University

  • Cheney, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On-Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $230

Out of State | $824

Credits to Graduate

180

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | N/A

EWU prepares students for careers in reading education, emphasizing literacy and writing. Graduates can apply for a license to teach preschool through high school. In addition to coursework in children's and young adult literature, writing across the curriculum, and teaching diverse learners, students can participate in the Eastern Reading Council. This organization supports literacy activities in the community. 

Students can enhance their education with add-on endorsements in special education, early childhood special education, and elementary education. All students complete a hands-on field experience. The Washington Professional Educator Standards Board approves the program.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,543
Out-of-state
$24,074
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
12,410
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Popular Online [PROGRAM NAME] Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Bachelor's in Reading Teacher Education ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 23 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution.
  • Must offer a bachelor's degree program in the given subject.
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Reading Teacher Education Programs

Is a bachelor's in reading teacher education worth it?

Earning a bachelor's in reading teacher education can prepare you to support student literacy. Specialized training helps these educators identify learning challenges and develop specialized lesson plans to help students succeed. According to the BLS, kindergarten and elementary school teachers reported a median salary of $61,350, as of May 2021.

Every school subject relies on a student's ability to read and comprehend information. Students who have not mastered reading skills can also fall behind in other subjects. Reading teachers can focus on early childhood literacy or help older students struggling with reading gain the skills they need across their classes.

What can I do with a bachelor's in reading teacher education?

Earning a bachelor's in reading teacher education can prepare teachers to work as elementary school teachers or reading teachers. The curriculum also prepares graduates to work as reading resource specialists or school interventionists, working with small groups of students on critical literacy skills.

Many teachers continue their education with a master's degree in reading or curriculum and instruction. These educators can take on leadership positions within their schools. Many school systems employ instructional coaches who help teachers implement new curricula or instructional materials.

Some reading teachers also work with textbook publishers or educational technology companies that serve thousands of students with high-quality instructional tools.

Are reading teacher education majors in demand?

The BLS projects about 124,300 job openings for kindergarten and elementary school teachers, on average, each year from 2020-2030. Multiple states report a shortage of reading teachers and reading resource specialists, according to the U.S. Department of Education's teacher shortage area report for 2021-2022, including Michigan and Washington.

Many states have focused their attention on literacy, particularly in younger grades. Nationally, 65% of fourth graders were considered "basic" or "below basic" on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2019.

Many teachers have worked to help students catch up following widespread school closures during the pandemic. Still, a 2021 Stanford study found reading gains were lagging about 30% behind a typical school year.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in reading teacher education?

Teacher pay varies significantly from place to place and by years of experience and education.

The BLS reports a median annual kindergarten and elementary school teacher salary of $61,350. However, top-earning teachers earn salaries upwards of $98,440, while the lowest-earning teachers were paid less than $38,390.

New York reported the highest average annual pay for elementary school teachers, $87,700, followed by California, which paid an average of $86,470. Local government offered the highest annual salary for elementary school teachers, $84,590.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in reading teacher education?

Teaching offers the highest pay for graduates with a bachelor's in reading teacher education, with a median elementary school teacher salary of $61,350, as of May 2021.

Many teachers decide to pursue a master's degree in education so they can take on leadership positions. These roles often offer higher wages to accompany the expanded responsibilities.

Instructional coordinators, who typically need a master's degree, earn a median annual salary of $63,740, as of May 2021, according to the BLS. They help develop and select instructional materials and implement them in classrooms.

School principals, who also usually earn a master's degree, oversee all operations of elementary, middle, and high schools. They earn a median annual salary of $98,420.

Feature Image: Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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