The reading program at the University of Virginia is nationally recognized for both research and practice. It is the home of the McGuffey Reading Center, the oldest operating reading clinic in the country, which serves students and parents who seek guidance regarding reading instruction and the diagnosis of reading disabilities. The Virginia Spelling Studies line of research produced what today is recognized as the leading theory regarding students’ development of orthographic knowledge. The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening Assessment (PALS) originated here and is used in all 50 states and several foreign countries as a means of benchmarking young children’s development as readers. A literacy coaching model, implemented nationally as an effective means of improving the quality of reading instruction, is a current research area of the program. Extending the literacy viewpoint of the reading program to writing is the National Writing Project. Finally, the outreach program takes reading courses to practicing teachers away from Charlottesville through state-of-the-art delivery including technology-assisted instruction and online courses.
Graduates of the reading program area at the University of Virginia teach children in elementary and secondary classrooms, coach colleagues in exemplary schools, train future teachers in colleges and universities, and conduct research. The Curry School of Education offers an M.Ed. in reading instruction, an Ed.S. degree (post-graduate terminal professional) degree and two doctoral level degrees, the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. In addition, two certificate programs are available--one in Adolescent Literacy and the newest one, the reading specialist certificate. Students in the Master’s of Teaching degree program at the University take part in classes and clinical experiences taught by the reading faculty.