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The purpose of this study was to investigate teacher candidates’ perceptions of their first experience teaching literacy. Using a case study design, this research spans two consecutive semesters and investigates 34 teacher candidates’ reflections as they engaged in structured tutoring in a university-based literacy clinic. Qualitative analyses of various reflections revealed that teacher candidates largely focused on planning and delivering quality instruction, understanding students and families, and contemplating what it takes to become a teacher. We found that over the course of the tutoring experience, candidates’ reflections shifted from (1) being micro-focused on details to focused on their student, (2) considering only general pedagogy to contemplating literacy-specific concepts, and (3) having a candidate mind-set to a practicing teacher mind-set. We argue that teacher preparation programs and researchers should continue identifying ways to incorporate discipline-specific, supervised practical experiences that allow candidates to explore the shifts we found prior to entering the field of teaching.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Literacy Research and Instruction on February 1, 2023, available online:

Available for download on Thursday, August 01, 2024