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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · Regional Educational Academy for Leadership

Foundations of Literacy
REND and MSED-641

  • Template 2015
  • Section TMPL
  • 3 Credits
  • 07/22/2015 to 07/22/2115
  • Modified 07/29/2019

Mission Statement

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. 


Focuses on the history of literacy instruction, theoretical models of instruction in literacy and research-based methodology through the lens of a 21st century classroom implementing Common Core Standards.


College of Education Mission

The mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.

Understanding Students

Candidates will develop an understanding of how students learn to read by examining the many constructs of literacy acquisition. The knowledge of these constructs allows any discipline teacher to support students’ learning through a comprehensive understanding of the reading and writing processes.

Serving the Community

Candidates will have opportunities to explore the value of community (classroom, school and the wider society) support for school reading programs.   They will also discover the symbiotic nature of reading instruction through historical investigation and the connection that society (community) has on the instruction of reading in schools.

Finding Our Professional Selves

Candidates will develop a comprehensive philosophy of reading based on the theoretical models and ethical standards for reading professionals discussed in this course. Additionally, candidates in this course will explore the varied resources available that provide avenues in which to examine current developments in reading education.


Access to standards referenced in this section can be found HERE

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to do the following:

Candidates understand major theories and empirical research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and socio-cultural foundations of reading and writing development, processes, and components, including word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading–writing connections (IRA Standard 1.1; NBPTS 1,2)

  • 1a.Recognize major theories in reading and writing processes and the major constructs included in literacy
  • 1b.Value the scholarship of the reading profession in order to understand the research base

Candidates understand the historically shared knowledge of the profession and changes over time in the perceptions of reading and writing development, processes, and components (IRA Standard 1.2; NBPTS 1,2,4).

  • 2a. Identify major milestones in reading instruction
  • 2b. Explore the pendulum effect of reading instruction and its ties to the political, social and economical contexts

Candidates understand the role of professional judgment and practical knowledge for improving all students’ reading development and achievement (IRA Standard 1.3; NBPTS 1,2,4,5).

  • 3a.Use multiple sources of information to guide reading instruction and philosophies
  • 3b. Show fair-mindedness, empathy and ethical behavior in reading instruction and philosophies


Vacca, Vacca, Gove, Burkey, Lenhart & McKeown.  Reading and learning to read.(10th ed.) (Loose Leaf w/ Access) Pearson.  


Professional Discourse, Participation and Reflection

Candidates will respond to weekly discussion and reflection prompts.

  • Course outcomes 1,2,3
  • Standards IRA 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; NBPTS 1,2,3,4,5

Professional Publication

Candidates will create a document intended for dissemination to a particular audience presenting and important facet of literacy at the classroom or school-wide level.

  • Course outcomes 1,2,3
  • Standards IRA 1.3; NBPTS 1,2,4,5

Tenet Defense

Candidates will develop specific tenets about literacy instruction and support these tenets with research.

  • Course outcomes 1,2,3
  • Standards IRA 1.1, 1.2; NBPTS 1,2,4

Content Exam

Candidates will take a content exam which mirrors the ISBE Reading Teacher test for entitlement.

  • Course outcomes 1,2,3
  • Standards IRA 1.1, 1.2; NBPTS 1,2

Course Policies

Policies for the College of Education at University of St. Francis

CLICK HERE for policies, including but not limited to:

  • Method of Instruction
  • Expectations of Candidates
  • Online Courses
  • Attendance Policies for Site-Based and Online Courses
  • Minimum Standards for Writing

Course Evaluations | IDEA Surveys

USF has elected to participate in the AQIP Program which requires a focus on continuous quality improvement as part of our Higher Learning Commission accreditation. The information learned during the IDEA Course Evaluations is an important part of maintaining quality and continuous improvement in courses, and it is the University’s expectation that students will thoughtfully participate in this evaluation process.

Institutional Policies

Students should use the USF portal as the first resource for guidance and support on items such as student complaints, safety, security and transportation questions, contact information for various USF departments, student support services such as counseling and academic resources. Information on these resources can be found in the “For Students” section of the USF portal.

A complete listing of university policies and procedures can be found in the University of St. Francis Course Catalog and Student Handbook. For the most current version of the catalog, please visit

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Collaboration is only acceptable when it is explicitly acknowledged. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses. Since a lack of integrity hinders the student’s academic development, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Violations include but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information or material. See the USF Catalog for further clarification and information on grievance procedures.

Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (ADA)

The University strives to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). A student who requires special accommodations or arrangements due to a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services. This contact preferably should occur no later than the first week of classes. Early contact before the semester starts is encouraged to allow sufficient time to provide accommodations. Extra time is needed for some types of accommodations such as sign language interpreters or special text formatting. Should a need arrive after the start of a semester; the student is encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible. Note that accommodations are not retroactive. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

USF is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, regardless of the course format. If you have a documented disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a course, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University’s programs or services, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Disability Services is in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and is located on the second floor of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library in room L214. Consultations are welcome, please contact the Office of Disability Services for an appointment.

Technology Support

  1. The Department of Academic Technology (DAT) administers the learning management system Canvas. If you are experiencing any difficulty using Canvas or need technical assistance, you have several options to receive support, including:
  1. 24x7 Live Canvas Support. If you experience technical difficulties or have a question about Canvas, you can receive support 24 hours a day 7 days a week through the Canvas help menu. From the help menu, select Chat with Canvas Support for a “live” text-based click-to-chat session,
  2. select Report a Problem to send an email support request, or speak to someone directly by using the toll-free number listed under the Canvas Support Hotline.

NOTE: Responses to Canvas’ email-based Report a Problem request system will go to your USF email account, NOT your personal email.

2. Online Self-Service Help Resources. A student user guide and other resources for solving issues related to Canvas can be found at

3. Telephone Support from DAT. You can also phone the Department of Academic Technology for personal help at (815) 740-5080 or (866) 337-1497 (toll-free) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

For any technical support issues that are not related to Canvas, please contact the USF Technology Support Center (TSC). You can reach them via:

Notice of Copyright

This course may contain copyrighted materials that are intended to support the learning experiences of students currently enrolled in the course. No student may retain or further disseminate any copyrighted materials, in their entirety or any portion thereof, under penalty of law.

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room L214 in the Library (815-740-5060) offers various types of academic services.  Online and distance learning students can contact ARC for appropriate resources.  ARC serves students who need tutoring in many areas of study including writing and math.  Library services include a number of online services and full text databases.  Call the Library at 815-740-5041 for additional information.  If you need academic-related resources or assistance, please contact the Academic Resource Center.

Additional Items

Course References

Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print- a summary. Urbana: University of Illinois, Center for Study of Reading.

Anderson, R. C., Hiebert, E. H., Scott, J., & Wilkinson, I. A. G. (1985). Becoming a nation of readers. Washington, DC: National Institute of Education.

Bond, G., & Dykstra, R. (1967). The cooperative research programs in first-grade reading. Reading Research Quarterly (2), 135-142.

Cowen, J.E. (2003). A balanced approach to beginning reading instruction: A synthesis of six major U.S. studies. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Gunning, T.G, (2010). Creating literacy instruction for all students, seventh edition. Boston, MA: Allyn& Bacon.

Pearson, P.D. (2004). American reading education since 1967. In Preparing reading professionals: A collection from the International Reading Association (pp.6-40).  Newark, DE: International Reading Association. (Reprinted from American reading instruction, pp419-486, by N.B. Smith, Ed. 2002, Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Samuels, S.J., &Farstrup A.E., Eds. (2011). What research has to say about reading instruction, fourth edition. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Smith, N. B. (1965). American reading instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Snow, C.E., Griffin, P., & Burns, M.S. (Eds)). (2005). Knowledge to support the teaching of reading: Preparing teachers for a changing world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Tracey, D.H., & Morrow, L.M. (2006). Lenses on reading: An introduction to theories and models. New York: Guilford.

Vacca, J.L., Vacca, R.T., & Gove, M. K. (2011). Reading and learning to read, fourth edition. New York: Longman.

Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language (A. Kozulin, Ed. &Trans., Rev. ed.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press