Online Reading Specialist Degrees and Certification Programs

Reading specialists provide one-on-one reading instruction and develop school-wide reading programs in elementary and secondary schools. Learn about education requirements and programs, including online degree options. Schools offering Literacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Study in a Reading Specialist Certification Program?

States vary in their requirements for certification of reading specialists. Most, however, require a master's degree in reading and literacy. On completion of a reading specialist program, you can qualify for a reading specialist endorsement, which is a certification added on to your original teaching credential.

You'll want to search for programs that are state-approved and conform to the standards of the International Reading Association for reading specialists. Also, you'll likely want to seek out an online program offered by a school within the state in which you plan to teach. This ensures that the program will meet your state's specific curriculum requirements for licensure.

Programs may be specialized for teachers who work with elementary or secondary students, English language learners or students in special education. In all these programs you will study strategies, theories and assessment of reading. Specific class topics might include:

  • Language acquisition
  • Assessment of reading and language disabilities
  • Theory and research on reading and language
  • Child and young adult literature
  • Reading in the content areas

Degree Overview Master's degree in reading and literacy, completion leading to reading specialist endorsement
Common Courses Theory and research on reading and language, assessment of reading and language disabilities, language acquisition, child and young adult literature, reading in the content areas
Prerequisites Letters of recommendation, official transcripts, teaching certification, 2-3 years of teaching experience
Online Learning Access course materials, take exams and upload assignments online; on-campus attendance required for practicum experience in a classroom
Job Duties Work one-on-one with students with reading challenges, develop district-wide literacy programs, develop reading training programs

What Prerequisites Do I Need to Satisfy?

Applicants to online reading specialist programs are required to have a teaching certification. Your state may require 2-3 years of teaching experience before you can become a certified reading specialist. Admissions requirements include an application, letters of recommendation and official transcripts. GRE scores are generally not required.

How Do I Earn This Degree Online?

Because practicum experience in a classroom is an integral part of your reading specialist program, exclusively online programs aren't available. If you are a teacher pursuing a reading specialist certification online, you'll need to arrange with a local school to gain your practicum experience while you do online coursework on a flexible schedule.

Your classes will typically be asynchronous, allowing you to log in to your class website at your convenience. Through the class website and your school's adopted learning management system, you can access course materials, take exams and upload assignments. Your primary form of communication with instructors and fellow students will be e-mail.

What Will I Do as a Reading Specialist?

Reading specialists may wear many hats in a kindergarten through 12th grade setting. They work one-on-one with students who are experiencing reading challenges. They also develop training programs for teachers to better assist their students with reading. Working with administrators, reading specialists may develop district-wide literacy programs. Administration of reading assessments and interpretation of test data is another role of the reading specialist. In addition to school settings, reading specialists may work in community literacy programs or private practice.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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