Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board of Education
Chapter 543. Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in Virginia

8VAC20-543-600. Reading specialist.

A. The reading specialist program shall ensure that the candidate has completed at least three years of successful classroom teaching experience in a public or accredited nonpublic school and has demonstrated the following competencies:

1. Assessment and diagnostic teaching. The candidate shall:

a. Demonstrate expertise in the use of formal and informal screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring assessment for language proficiency, concepts of print, phonemic awareness, letter recognition, decoding, fluency, vocabulary, reading levels, and comprehension; and

b. Demonstrate expertise in the ability to use diagnostic data to inform instruction for acceleration, intervention, remediation, and differentiation.

2. Communication: speaking, listening, media literacy. The candidate shall:

a. Demonstrate expertise in the knowledge, skills, and processes necessary for teaching communication, such as speaking, listening, and media literacy;

b. Demonstrate expertise in developing students' phonological awareness skills;

c. Demonstrate effective strategies for facilitating the learning of standard English by speakers of other languages and dialects;

d. Demonstrate an understanding of the unique needs of students with language differences and delays;

e. Demonstrate the ability to promote creative thinking and expression, such as through storytelling, drama, and choral and oral reading; and

f. Demonstrate the ability to teach students to identify the characteristics of, and apply critical thinking to, media messages and to facilitate their proficiency in using various forms of media to collaborate and communicate.

3. Reading. The candidate shall:

a. Demonstrate expertise in explicit and systematic phonics instruction, including an understanding of sound and symbol relationships, syllables, phonemes, morphemes, decoding skills, word analysis, and word attack skills;

b. Demonstrate expertise in the morphology of English including inflections, prefixes, suffixes, roots, and word relationships;

c. Demonstrate expertise in strategies to increase vocabulary;

d. Demonstrate expertise in the structure of the English language, including and understanding of syntax, semantics, and vocabulary development;

e. Demonstrate expertise in reading comprehension strategies, including a repertoire of questioning strategies, understanding the dimensions of word meanings, teaching predicting, inferencing, summarizing, clarifying, evaluating, and making connections;

f. Demonstrate expertise in the ability to teach strategies in literal, interpretive, critical, and evaluative comprehension;

g. Demonstrate the ability to develop comprehension skills in all content areas;

h. Demonstrate the ability to foster appreciation of a variety of literature;

i. Understand the importance of promoting independent reading and reading strategically through a variety of means including by selecting fiction and nonfiction texts of appropriate yet engaging topics and reading levels; and

j. Demonstrate effective strategies for teaching students to view, interpret, analyze, and represent information and concepts in visual form with or without the spoken or written word.

4. Writing. The candidate shall:

a. Demonstrate expertise in the knowledge, skills, and processes necessary for teaching writing, including the domains of composing and written expression and usage and mechanics and the writing process of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and sharing;

b. Demonstrate expertise in systematic spelling instruction, including awareness of the purpose and limitations of "invented spelling," orthographic patterns, and strategies for promoting generalization of spelling study to writing; and

c. Demonstrate expertise to teach the writing process: plan, draft, revise, edit, and share in the narrative, descriptive, and explanative modes.

5. Technology. The candidate shall demonstrate expertise in their use of technology for both process and product as they work to guide students with reading, writing, and research.

6. Leadership, coaching, and specialization. The candidate shall:

a. Demonstrate an understanding of developmental psychology, including personality and learning behaviors;

b. Demonstrate an understanding of the needs of high achieving students and of strategies to challenge them at appropriate levels;

c. Demonstrate an understanding of the significance of cultural contexts upon language;

d. Demonstrate an understanding of varying degrees of learning disabilities;

e. Demonstrate expertise with educational measurement and evaluation, including validity, reliability, and normative comparisons in test design and selections;

f. Demonstrate expertise to interpret grade equivalents, percentile ranks, normal curve equivalents, and standards scores;

g. Demonstrate the ability to instruct and advise teachers in the skills necessary to differentiate reading instruction for both low and high achieving readers;

h. Demonstrate the ability to coach and support teachers through classroom observations, demonstrations, co-teaching, and other forms of job-embedded professional development;

i. Demonstrate the ability to organize and supervise the reading program within the classroom, school, or division;

j. Demonstrate effective communication skills in working with a variety of groups, including parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders;

k. Demonstrate knowledge of current research and exemplary practices in English and reading;

l. Understanding of and proficiency in grammar, usage, and mechanics and their integration in writing;

m. Understanding of and proficiency in pedagogy to incorporate writing as an instructional and assessment tool for candidates to generate, gather, plan, organize, and present ideas in writing to communicate for a variety of purposes; and

n. Complete a supervised practicum or field experience in the diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties in a public or accredited nonpublic school.

B. Each education preparation program offered by a public institution of higher education or private institution of higher education that leads to a degree, concentration, or certificate for reading specialists shall include a program of coursework and other training in the identification of and the appropriate interventions, accommodations, and teaching techniques for students with dyslexia or a related disorder. Such program shall (i) include coursework in the constructs and pedagogy underlying remediation of reading, spelling, and writing and (ii) require reading specialists to demonstrate mastery of an evidence-based, structured literacy instructional approach that includes explicit, systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-298.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 24, eff. August 23, 2018; amended, Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 2, eff. October 14, 2020.

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