NOTE: This work is part of a larger, on-going effort to strengthen reading coursework in Higher Education in Ohio and across the nation. We would love your feedback and ideas! If you have suggestions please contact Dr. Amy Murdoch at Thanks! 


The documents presented on this webpage were created to support higher education faculty as they work to fully incorporate the science of reading in their teacher preparation programs. The work includes an introduction document explaining the construction of the model syllabi, a set of 4 model syllabi that are coordinated to teach the required 12-hour reading core in Ohio, and a planning checklist to aid faculty as they revise their courses. This work was done at the request of Ohio’s Department of Education with permission to share. Through sharing this work (and welcoming feedback) we hope to further our combined efforts to strengthen how we prepare future teachers. 


The aim is to inspire faculty to view their courses as a bridge between what is known (science) and what is done (practice).  University professors have autonomy in the selection of course topics, objectives, readings, assignments, and field experiences. This set of syllabi demonstrates one collaborative example of how the 12-hour Ohio Reading Core in teacher preparation can be organized and coordinated to teach key knowledge and skills based in the science of reading. It is key that faculty work together to create a coordinated reading core that builds the knowledge and skills of our future teachers within a consistent model built on the science of reading. The model syllabi and supporting documents were collaboratively developed by three faculty of Mount St. Joseph University’s Reading Science Program. All three faculty members (two full-time faculty and one adjunct) involved in this work have extensive knowledge of the science of reading as well as a wealth of experience in both K-12 public schools and teaching undergraduate and graduate students.


The definition of The Science of Reading used in Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement and systematically used to guide the development of these model syllabi includes:

  • How Students Learn to Read: research from cognitive science on how children learn
  • Essential Elements of Reading: the skills that support literacy and how student needs change across development
  • Essential Elements of Effective Instruction: instructional approaches that are based in research and best practice
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: the application of data-based decision making to the creation of systems of support for all students.

Presentation at IDA-Portland, Murdoch & Saylor (Nov. 2019).