Master of Education in Literacy
Reading Specialist Certification
This M.Ed. is a 36-credit program that provides candidates with the foundation to serve as a reading specialist in a K-12 setting and also earn a Master's of Education in Literacy degree.
A Reading Specialist Certification in Pennsylvania is acquired after completion of required course work, a six-credit practicum and passing scores on the Reading Specialist Praxis exam. Students can then choose to continue their coursework to earn a master of education in literacy by taking an additional nine credits in research at the graduate level.
The Master in Education in Literacy -- Reading Specialist Certification provides learning opportunities for classroom teachers to better manage resources in the classroom for students with literacy needs. The program offers certified teachers a K-12 certification that has both a theoretical and applied approach to working with students' literacy problems in the classroom. Candidates learn to assess reading difficulties, implement appropriate literacy instructions, and use data-driven instruction to plan school-wide literacy programs. Finally, this degree and certification also provides a diverse yet highly specialized background in education of great benefit to teachers.
All instructors in the RDSP courses are certified as Reading Specialists, hold terminal degrees from fully accredited universities, and all have extensive background work in reading in the public school system.
The handbook for the M.Ed. in Literacy and the Reading Specialist Certification is here. The coordinator for the Reading Specialist Program is Dr. Carianne Bernadowski. Click here to go to the website for Reading Horizons, the Foundation for Reading English.
The first 27 credits of coursework that will provide candidates with a comprehensive background in literacy meeting all requirements of the certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The program is designed to be completed in approximately 4 semesters, including a 6-credit practicum in the summer. Semester course work takes place two evenings per week during two 8-week sessions each in the fall and spring terms; each class during these sessions is offered in a 4-hour block. Some of the courses will be offered as hybrid in terms of course delivery. Upon summer completion, students will have earned enough credits to apply for the Reading Specialist certification upon their successful comprehensive exam and reading specialist Praxis exam. To earn the Master of Education in Literacy students will then complete an additional nine credits. Click here to view the courses and their descriptions, and click here to view the program of study.
The reading specialist program is offered at the RMU Moon Township Campus only.
In order for a student to be in good academic standing in the program, the teacher candidate must have a minimum cumulative QPA of 3.00.
To qualify for this Reading Specialist certificate, the candidate must complete the eight (8) course 27-credit program of study which includes the 6 credit clinical experience within a five (5) year time frame. If the student meets all of the check sheet requirements, successfully completes all field-based assignments and the 6-credit clinical experience (Practicum), and passes the comprehensive exam and Praxis exam, then one of the certifying officers, the School Dean or Education Department Head, will apply to the PDE for granting the candidate the Reading Specialist certification. Then, students may continue in the program and take nine (9) additional credits in research to complete the master of education in literacy.
Applicants for the Reading Specialist Certification are required to hold the Instructional I Certificate. In addition, applicants for the Master in Education in Literacy -- Reading Specialist Certification also need to have:
- Bachelor's degree with a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA
- Two letters of recommendation
- Updated Pennsylvania and FBI clearances
To apply, go to rmu.edu/gradapply. You can complete the application online with no application fee. Alternatively, you can download the graduate application PDF form, and then mail in the completed form with required documentation and $35 application fee.
Click to visit the RMU Office of Graduate Admissions website to find out about tuition and fees, financial aid, and how to apply for the program; or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions directly at email@example.com or 800-762-0097.
The following are a list of numbered descriptions of the courses that comprise the 36 credit Master of Education in Literacy.
The first 27 credits are to be taken sequentially and will be offered once per semester for all students in the cohort. The additional nine credits are general research courses that all master candidates take in M.Ed. program in the Education Department.
In this course elementary and secondary teacher candidates will be examining current crucial aspects of reading and writing from leading authorities in the field. Key topics include reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, English as second language learners, literacy coaching, adolescent literacy, literacy testing/coaching, technology, adolescent literacy, and writing. Each of these topics will be explored, discussed, and further researched in terms of their interpretation by literacy educators at all levels of instruction and practice and by a wide variety of opinions and positions drawn from some of today’s leading researchers and writers in the field of literacy.
Candidates will be introduced, through theory and practice, to a variety of strategies for teaching reading and writing in a k-6 setting. Phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, text comprehension and fluency are the focus of the course with a strong connection to current practice and research. Candidates will become aware of ways to analyze and implement reading programs and ways to support children as they develop as readers. Candidates will also become familiar with materials used in the classroom to support literacy development. Additionally, each student will develop the basic knowledge, skills and strategies for teaching students who are linguistically and culturally diverse and/or have diverse learning needs in the general education classroom.
This course focuses on research and principles of reading in content area instruction. It examines the importance of reader background knowledge and language acquisition across the curriculum. Specifically, the language and culture of English Language Learners will be explored to facilitate the planning and implementation of effective assessment and instruction. This course examines key areas of working with reading for diverse learners (students with special needs and English Language Learners), implementing assessment tools in the content areas, and integrating technology to improve reading and literacy. Emphasis is on pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading strategies. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to design lesson plans that effectively demonstrate reading strategies covered in the course to meet the needs of all students.
Candidates will be introduced, through theory and practice, to a variety of literacy assessment tools in a kindergarten through grade 3 setting. Assessment tools for phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, text comprehension and fluency are the focus of the course with a strong connection to current best-practice and research. Candidates will become aware of ways to analyze data to implement developmentally appropriate instruction for students of diverse reading abilities and diverse backgrounds. Candidates will become familiar with a myriad of assessment tools used in the classroom to assess literacy development and monitor progress.
Candidates will be introduced, through theory and practice, to a variety of literacy assessment tools applicable in grades 4-12. Assessment tools for text comprehension, fluency and vocabulary will be explored with a strong connection to current best practice and research. Candidates will become aware of ways to analyze data for student achievement at the school and district levels. Additionally, students will be introduced to the current means by which to monitor progress in those settings.
This course examines methods and best practices for developing literacy for students with exceptional needs in K-12. Reading, spelling, and written language are often major areas of concern and focus in student IEPs. This course explores the use of appropriate assessment tools, reading materials, universal design, and instructional strategies to increase the reading achievement of students across all levels of their education (elementary through high school). Assessment, implementation, and impact of Response to Intervention are addressed. In addition, the course investigates methods for adapting state standards and meeting NCLB and IDEA requirements for students with exceptional needs.
This course examines the leadership roles that reading specialists and literacy coaches play in a K-12 school setting. Candidates will examine how to effectively implement professional development at the school and district level, form a literacy team, determine a school’s literacy needs, develop a literacy plan, select and evaluate instructional and technology resources, and analyze elementary, middle and high school programs. Through a myriad of practical experiences and online discussions, candidates will reflect on the best methods to serve as a leader of a school-wide literacy team. This course is offered as an online course.
This practicum is a 6 credit lab-based clinical experience where certificate candidates will be working directly with children in the area of literacy. Candidates will synthesize the learning of candidates in the reading specialist program. This off-campus experience affords the student the opportunity to test, diagnose, and design a literacy program suitable for an individual or small group of children and/or adolescents. The clinician will take into consideration the elements of the cognitive and affective domains as well as curriculum and instructional context. The candidate will work with ELL and/or special needs students during this time. The candidate will be observed daily by the course instructor.
This course focuses on the use of descriptive and inferential statistics and their roles in research studies. Topics such as graphical and tabular displays of data, descriptive statistics including measures of central tendency and variability, standard scores, the normal distribution, one and two sample tests and confidence intervals on the mean, correlation coefficients, simple linear regression, and chi-square tests will be discussed. Focus is placed on generating statistical output using SPSS, interpreting that output, and summarizing statistical results in written form.
This course focuses on introducing the research process in education, including identifying and stating the research problem, reviewing the literature, planning the research design, reporting the findings, and writing the research report. Students review and analyze the research of others with an emphasis on adequacy of design, appropriateness of the analysis and generalization of the results. A major requirement of the course is the development of a three chapter research proposal.
The Research Practicum is a capstone research experience that guides students from theory to application of the principles and concepts of courses from the Master of education in literacy. Students develop and implement a research project or professional practitioner project. The course is a hybrid and will meet both on campus and online in a discussion board. The Dept. Head registers the student once approval has been granted.