Arcadia University Reading Education Program Earns International Dyslexia Association Accreditation

By Caitlin Burns | February 19, 2018

Arcadia University’s Master of Education in Literacy Studies and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and its Master of Education in Reading Education programs each has received accreditation from the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI), an organization aligned with the International Dyslexia Association’s Knowledge and Practice standards for effective educator preparation in the area of reading. The program accreditation was announced during the Philadelphia mayor’s annual literacy roundtable event on Feb. 6.

Arcadia is one of only four universities in Pennsylvania, and one of 26 in the nation, to receive this accreditation.

The designation allows Literacy Studies and Reading Education students at Arcadia to gain IDA-approved CERI certification, which indicates that a teacher or reading specialist has mastered the content and skills outlined in the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards. These standards include understanding and responding instructionally to student behaviors that impact reading, such as attention, verbal memory, and processing; staying up-to-date on the latest best practices; identifying environmental, cultural, and social factors that contribute to literacy development; and distinguishing characteristics of dyslexia and other reading disabilities.

“CERI is an organization that guides teacher preparation for literacy, particularly in relation to struggling readers and readers who may have dyslexia,” said Dr. Peggy Hickman, associate professor of Education at Arcadia. “As an accredited program, CERI recognizes that our program meets their standards for educator preparation. The Arcadia School of Education is honored to receive accreditation and prepare master teachers to become certified through CERI, with the goal of responding effectively to the literacy needs of all children in preK-12 classrooms.”

Dr. Hickman said students who obtain certification will have a competitive edge when seeking employment. She points to one example, the School District of Philadelphia, which has recognized the need for CERI-certified teachers. Arcadia’s School of Education joins with the District in partnership with Read By 4th!, an IDA-backed organization dedicated to teacher training and resource allocation with the goal of increasing the number of children in the District reading at grade level, by the fourth grade. Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite has established a prioritization for reading teachers that are prepared in CERI-accredited institutions, and seek individual CERI certification in addition to state teaching certification.

The CERI website notes that the “certification as a Structured Literacy Teacher or Structured Literacy Interventionist demonstrates that an educator is highly trained to teach reading effectively to all students in the classroom, but particularly those for whom reading is a challenge due to a native language other than English, lack of language exposure, or other learning challenges. With a majority of states having passed literacy legislation in recent years, the demand is growing for teachers that are well-trained to deliver effective reading instruction in the general classroom and to work with struggling readers.”

For more information on the Master of Education in Literacy Studies and TESOL and Master of Education in Reading Education programs, visit