PBIDA Helps to Ensure that All New Reading Teachers Know How to Implement Structured Literacy Instruction in Their Classrooms

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By Maria Toglia

August 10, 2023


There is real momentum in Pennsylvania toward preparing new teachers of reading to deliver high quality structured literacy to all children learning to read. For the first time, Chapter 49 regulations governing teacher licensure require institutions of higher education to provide training in structured literacy to candidates seeking PK-4, K-8, reading specialist, special education and ELL certifications. In July 2022, the state legislature passed House Bill 1642, which codified the language in Chapter 49 requiring structured literacy training into statutory law with compliance required by August, 2024. Importantly, the new structured literacy program guidelines are based on the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (KPSTR), first developed by IDA in 2013. Updated in 2018, the KPSTR are a comprehensive, research-based set of guidelines indicating what teachers should know and be able to do in order to deliver effective structured literacy in the classroom.  

PBIDA is actively working to build capacity among universities across the state in order to meet the new requirements for structured literacy teacher preparation. In the fall of 2022, PBIDA secured funding from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the Peirce Family Foundation to send 15 PA faculty to the first national Higher Education Summit in Syracuse, New York. These PA faculty had the opportunity to collaborate with peers from across the country and learn about aligning teacher preparation with the science of reading. With continued funding from the Tremaine and Peirce foundations, this group of teacher educators engaged with PBIDA and our partners to plan a higher education summit to meet the needs of PA faculty seeking to meet the new structured literacy requirements. 

In partnership with The Reading League PA, Read By 4th, Keystone Literacy Alliance and Decoding Dyslexia, PBIDA held the first ever Pennsylvania Higher Education Summit in Harrisburg on May 16th. It was an exciting day where 120 attendees representing 47 universities engaged in peer-to-peer learning with faculty presenters from across PA focused on a broad range of topics related to structured literacy including: Curriculum and Syllabus Design; School District and University Partnerships; Resources and Tools to Guide Course Development; and Comprehension Supports in Structured Literacy.

We were fortunate to have two nationally renowned keynote speakers, Dr. Louise Spear-Swerling, Professor Emerita in the Department of Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University, and Dr. Altheria Caldera, Professor of Education at American University. Dr. Swerling discussed issues related to preparing teacher candidates in structured literacy methods, and Dr. Caldera addressed how teachers can deliver structured literacy in a culturally relevant way. 

Many summit attendees expressed a desire to continue learning about structured literacy teacher preparation with their peers in communities of practice. Stay tuned as we work to facilitate ongoing collaborative learning across Pennsylvania so that new teachers in our commonwealth are well prepared to effectively teach all children learning to read. 


The Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association is pleased to present a forum for information to benefit its constituents. It is IDA’s policy to not recommend or endorse any specific program, product, institution, company, or instructional material, noting that there are a number of such that present the critical components of instruction as defined by IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading. Any program, product, institution, company, or instructional material carrying the IDA Accredited seal meets the IDA Standards.