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Marian University to begin offering Master’s in Reading Science next year

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Posted at 9:15 PM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 21:15:20-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Colleges in Indiana are now expanding educational offerings for teachers to become more well versed in the science of reading.

Marian University will debut its newest graduate program, a Master’s in Reading Science, in May 2024.

The program is the first of its kind in the Hoosier state. The science of reading focuses on phonics, teaching kids how to sound out words and understanding the English language as a whole.

“Research says that when a teacher is knowledgeable and understands the English structure, they are more prepared to teach it,” Karen Betz, Coordinator of Marian University’s Reading Science Program, said.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, or NAEP, roughly one in three children in the United States cannot read at a basic level. Overall, the United States ranks 125 in literacy out of 194 other countries.

The NAEP also reported that less than 33% of Indiana fourth graders were proficient in reading in 2021.

“I never really knew how to teach a child how to read,” Anna Johannigman, Marian University Resident Teacher, said. “The science of reading tells you this is where you are supposed to start.”

Johannigman is in her first year of teaching. She is working on getting her Master’s. She says she has noticed the growth in her students already and the curriculum just started.

“It really excites me to see what growth you will see in the future,” Johannigman said.

Several Indiana colleges are offering courses regarding the Science of Reading, thanks to decisions that were made at the Statehouse.

“We are putting over $100 million thanks in large part, not just to legislature, but the Lilly Endowment as well, and giving back to the Science of Reading,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said.

The Lilly Endowment allocated $25 million to colleges and universities to implement ways to teach future teachers the Science of Reading.

“The state is doing a wonderful job,” Betz said. “They have accelerated this since I stood next to the governor watching the bill be signed.”

However, educators say that there are steps the state can take to tackle reading issues before standardize testing results become a problem.

“When our children don’t come to school until first grade, that is problematic,” Betz said. “So we need to catch them early and we need to have knowledgeable teachers and good curriculum.”

The Master’s in Science of Reading at Marian University will be completely online. The program will be two years and 34 credit hours. For more information, click here.