By Lynne Fitzhugh, Ph.d., CALT-QI
A: Colorado College’s Literacy Intervention Specialist Certification Program (LISCP) was honored to be included in IDA’s first review of reading programs. Our program is offered through a small liberal arts college, so the opportunity to receive national recognition was a draw for us. Our program allows teachers who wish to teach reading, including students with dyslexia, to move from completion of a Bachelor’s Degree directly into a program to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching—Literacy Intervention Specialist degree. The LISCP is also available to non-degree seeking students seeking certification. The LISCP at Colorado College is the first in Colorado to offer this type of intensive two-year graduate training program. IDA gave us an opportunity to show that we are doing this in an exemplary way.
Q: How was the experience of preparing for and participating in the review?
A: The reviewers needed to see the content of our program laid out in the format of a “traditional” college syllabus for each class. Our LISCP program consisted of several courses, so it took some time to make sure that IDA standards were delineated clearly in the description of the courses over the two-year program. As a result of the IDA review, we realized that 200 hours of classroom instruction didn’t allow adequate time to cover written language as recommended in the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards, so we have adjusted our program to include more instructional time in this area. In addition, LISCP has expanded to include the following courses: Multisensory Math, What Teachers of Reading Need to Know About the Brain, and Administering and Interpreting Assessments. The LISCP now has more than ten courses available to students. The review process itself was a very positive experience. It was a pleasure to work with the review team and to have the team leader visit our program.
A: IDA Recognition means so much to our program. Since we began the LISCP program in 2008, we have had students travel from across the country to participate, and IDA recognition has increased interest even more.
Q: Describe some of the innovative ideas you have implemented to give students a richer practicum experience.
A: All of our coursework is aligned with the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) and the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). This allows our students to be involved with meeting requirements for several nationally recognized organizations. As an IMSLEC accredited training course, the LISCP program includes a comprehensive practicum requirement of a minimum of 700 hours of clinical teaching to be completed over a minimum of two years.
Distance learning is available for our seminars throughout the school year, so teachers from across the country (and outside the country) can plan to come to Colorado for summer classes when their schools are not in session.
Q: How has your program leveraged outside partnerships to increase students’ learning experience?
A: LISCP is a partnership between Colorado College and the Colorado Literacy and Learning Center. LISCP has earned Reading Endorsements from the Colorado Department of Education at both the Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist levels. LISCP has provided students with opportunities to work in a variety of educational settings: the Colorado Literacy and Learning Center, the Colorado Division of Youth Services, a variety of public school districts, 501(C)(3) nonprofits, and other organizations supporting literacy across the country.
Lynne Fitzhugh, Ph.D., CALT-QI is the Founding Director of the Literacy Intervention Specialist Certification Program at Colorado College. The courses she developed are among the nine programs recognized by the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading. Dr. Fitzhugh also is the Founding Director of the Colorado Literacy and Learning Center, a 501(c)(3) located in Colorado Springs with sites across Colorado. Dr. Fitzhugh is a Board Member of the International Dyslexia Association.
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