Never Cease to Learn

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

The teacher is the most significant variable in determining the quality of reading instruction students receive. However, it is not possible to create a finished teaching product in four semesters of any teacher preparation program. Becoming an expert in any field, including reading instruction, takes time and continued study. Thus, to make sure that teachers of reading have the necessary knowledge and research-based strategies to enable them to help all students reach their full literacy potential, they must be provided access to high quality professional development opportunities. 

Teacher in-services, workshops, conferences, and graduate courses are not always the most efficient or effective ways to get new strategies directly into the classroom. There is a better way.

I have been working to develop and deliver a high-quality, online professional development program for teachers of reading. This program enables teachers to select from up to ten courses related to reading instruction and interventions. Each course enables teachers to earn 15 to 20 clock hours or continuing education units. This approach has three distinguishing features:

1. The price. This cost for a 15-20 clock hour course is $99. Upon completion of each course, students will be issued a certified from either Minnesota State University, Mankato or Lake Superior College.

2. The direct application of this to teachers’ classroom. In each course, participants are asked to select three new strategies. They must submit a plan for using each strategy and get feedback on the plan. They are then asked to try the new strategy for two weeks and report back. Students will be sharing their results and getting feedback from other students.

3. Asynchronous and self-paced. Participants are able to take these online courses when it is most convenient and at their own pace.  

Audience: Reading specialists, elementary education teachers, special education teachers, tutors, and parents.

1. Each course offers a variety of research-based strategies for reading instruction and interventions.

2. Teachers learn and practice new teaching strategies directly in the context of their classroom or teaching situations.

3. After selecting a strategy, teachers plan and get feedback from peers and Dr. Johnson before implementation.

4. Teachers try the strategy for two weeks, engaged in reflective analysis, and report back. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the program and learned a great deal. I now include many of these strategies in my sessions, and not only can I see my students progressing, but they are actually enjoying themselves more. Sentence mix-up is a favorite of quite a few of them! Thank you very much.

Laura T., New York, Private Reading Tutor and Teacher for 13 years


Class 1: Reading and the Brain - 15 Clock Hours

Class 2: Diagnostic Reading Inventory – 20 Clock Hours

Class 3: Word Identification - 15 Clock Hours

Class 4: Comprehension - 20 Clock Hours

Class 5: Fluency – 15 Clock Hours

Class 6: Vocabulary and Spelling Instruction – 20 clock hours

Class 7: Voluntary Reading, Instructional Approaches, and Teaching Written Expression – 20 clock hours

Class 8: Reading Lessons, Communication Skills, Grammar and Punctuation - 20 clock hours

Class 9: Action Research – 20 clock hours

Class 10: Dyslexia – Severe Reading Difficulties – 20 clock hours


Key Reading Standards Addressed -

1. Reading: Literature

 • Key Ideas and Details

 • Craft and Structure

 • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

 • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

2. Reading Informational Text

 • Key Ideas and Details

 • Craft and Structure

 • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

 • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

3. Reading: Foundational Skills

 • Phonics and Word Recognition

 • Fluency

Selected Standards Addressed -

1. Writing

2. Speaking & Listening

3. Language