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Teachers will soon need early literacy endorsements. IDOE issues new guidance on process

A row of books sits on a shelf in a library.
New state laws require elementary school teachers to earn literacy endorsements over the next few years.

Indiana teachers will be required to earn new early literacy endorsements before being licensed or having their licenses renewed in coming years. The Indiana Department of Education recently issued guidance for teachers to better explain that process.

Rebecca Estes, assistant secretary of educator talent at the IDOE, lead a recent information session to help teachers better understand if or when they will need the new literacy endorsement and how they can get it.

“I find hope that illiteracy is one of the most solvable issues of our time,” she said. “If anyone can lead the charge for Indiana in this space, it is our teachers.”

The endorsement stems from Indiana’s IREAD-3 results, which measure literacy at the third grade level. Recent tests results show that 1 in 5 Indiana third graders are lacking foundational reading skills.

Lawmakers passed a measure in 2023 to prioritize the science of reading, a body of research that emphasizes phonics and phonemic awareness when teaching kids to read. House Enrolled Act 1558 banned schools from using a teaching model called "three cueing" that encourages students to use pictures, word structure and context clues to decode words.

Last year’s law also requires new teachers to earn a literacy endorsement that aligns to the science of reading if they teach preschool through sixth grade or special education. That requirement affects teachers who are licensed after June 30, 2025.

READ MORE: Free training on science of reading, literacy endorsement available to Indiana teachers

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A new law passed earlier this year, House Enrolled Act 1243, says current preschool, elementary and special education teachers who are already licensed must receive the endorsement on their next license renewal after June 30, 2027. However, they can get the endorsement sooner.

Teachers applying for their first teaching license must pass an educator preparation program aligned to the science of reading to earn the endorsement. Current teachers must complete an approved 80-hour professional development course. New and current teachers will all be required to pass a content licensure test.

The IDOE partnered with Keys to Literacy to create a free course for Indiana teachers that will help them earn the new literacy endorsement and receive $1,200 stipends. Educators who are already licensed can enroll in the course until June 25, 2024.

The Indiana Learning Lab also offers free science of reading modules that can help educators earn the literacy endorsement. Estes said anyone who has questions about the literacy endorsement can reach out to the Indiana Literacy Center at

“I want to reiterate that while there are certainly multiple personal development opportunities available at no cost, existing educators are not required to add the endorsement until their normal license renewal that falls on or after July 1, 2027,” Estes said. “We encourage you to reach out to the Literacy Center with other questions.”

Kirsten is our education reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.

Kirsten the Indiana Public Broadcasting education reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.