Certification Standards for the Preparation of all Secondary Teachers

in Reading Instruction






The Michigan Definition of Reading, supported by the International Reading Association, defines reading as “the process of constructing meaning through the dynamic interaction among the reader’s existing knowledge, the information suggested by the written language, and the context of the reading situation.”  Preparation of students seeking initial certification at the elementary and secondary levels should be based on both this definition and the following premises:


·         The act of reading is critical to learning in all subject areas.  Reading is one of the English language arts involving several communication processes including reading, listening, speaking, writing, viewing, and visually representing.  While all six processes are mutually enhancing and essential tools for thinking and learning in all content areas, we have singled out the process of reading and articulated standards for the preparation of all secondary teachers.  Since students spend much of their time learning from texts, reading instruction should be embedded and developed in all subject areas.  In a broad sense, all teachers are teachers of reading.


·         The ultimate goal of reading instruction is to develop independent, strategic, motivated readers who actively engage in reading as a lifelong pursuit for a variety of purposes, such as recreation, economic success, participation in political and social processes, remaining informed, and continuing to learn.



The purpose of this document is to serve as a guide for teacher preparation programs in developing courses, which meet the requirements for initial certification at the secondary level (three semester hours) and the provisions of Public Act 497 of 2000. 


Advocates of reading reform claim that student reading problems go undiagnosed and students fail to achieve their academic potential because teachers are not adequately trained to recognize reading problems.  In response, Public Act 497 of 2000 stipulates that all elementary and secondary teacher candidates complete course work that includes training in how to recognize students’ reading disorders, and how to provide instruction and support for students with reading disorders.  Standards 5, 12, and 13 specifically address this legislation.


The standards in this document are consistent with the English Language Arts Content Standards and Benchmarks of the Michigan Curriculum Framework and teacher preparation program standards from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, the International Reading Association, and the National Council of Teacher of English.  There are 30 standards that are fundamental to the preparation of all secondary pre-service teachers.  These 30 are drawn from the more comprehensive list of 122 state standards for the preparation of reading teachers (BT endorsement) and reading specialists (BR endorsement), which are used in the approval of those teacher preparation programs. 



The reading standards identified in this document are distinguished by variant levels of proficiency required.  Depending on the roles they play in student learning, teachers need different levels of understanding.  The three levels of proficiency are identified as follows:


A – Awareness

The teacher is able to recognize, recall, and reflect on the existence of different aspects of literacy development and related literacy teaching strategies.  (Discussion of pertinent topics related to standards is an example of completion of the awareness level.)


B – Basic Understanding

The teacher is able to articulate knowledge about literacy development and related instructional and assessment strategies and is able to demonstrate and reflect on the use of this knowledge at a fundamental level of competence acceptable for teaching.  (An example of basic understanding would be to apply the knowledge and assess results.)


C – Comprehensive Understanding

The teacher is able to apply broad, in-depth knowledge of the different aspects of literacy development in a variety of settings.  (The ability to apply, reflect, assess, and discuss outcomes so that future learning is a result.) 


Friendly Guide to the Standards for the Required Reading Course

for All Secondary Teacher Candidates


  • These standards were selected and adapted from Michigan standards for Reading (BT) and Reading Specialist (BR) endorsements.  Teachers prepared for those specialized endorsements are expected to have a deeper level of understanding as indicated in those program standards for BR/BT programs where more standards require “C” level proficiency. 
  • The Michigan BR and BT standards are aligned with International Reading Association (IRA) and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards.
  • The Michigan BR and BT standards are aligned with the Michigan Curriculum Framework English Language Arts Standards and Benchmarks.
  • The exchange of ideas for the implementation of these standards by teacher preparation institutions is encouraged.  The Reading ListServ is available to support that exchange.