Reading Teacher: Job Duties, Occupational Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Reading teachers aid in literacy development by working with students in areas like comprehension, vocabulary and fluid reading. Continue reading for more information on responsibilities of reading teachers, employment prospects and education programs that can train you to become a reading teacher. Schools offering Literacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Reading Teacher?

As a reading teacher, you work in public and private schools at all grade levels. Primarily, you work with students as they learn to read or with those who have trouble grasping literacy concepts. Duties include helping students read fluently, comprehend what they're reading, and train them in phonetics, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary memorization. You may work in the classroom with other primary school teachers, or you may have your own classroom where students can come and learn.

Through assessment, you learn how to evaluate reading levels and select reading and learning material to use in class. You develop lessons plans and activities that meet each student's individual needs. Working with other teachers, you help to coordinate reading materials into their lessons and to promote schoolwide literacy programs. You also communicate with parents regarding their child's literacy needs and encourage students to read outside of the classroom.

Degree Required Bachelor's or Master's
Field of StudyElementary education or related field
Key ResponsibilitiesHelp students learn to read and understand literacy concepts
Licensure RequirementsState teaching license
Job Growth (2014-2024)6%* (all primary and secondary teachers)
Median Salary (2015) $54,890* (elementary school teachers), $57,200* (high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is the Outlook for Reading Teachers?

Reading and literacy teachers are lumped statistically with regular teachers. Once you've completed your education as a reading teacher, you may only find work as a general teacher. The employment rate for all K-12 teachers is expected to grow from 2014-2024, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Depending on the level of education you want to teach in, you can anticipate different outlooks. In general, teachers can expect a 6% increase in job opportunities. Salaries for teachers in 2015 ranged from $54,890 for elementary school teachers to $57,200 for secondary school teachers.

What Should I Study?

To become a reading teacher, you must earn a bachelor's degree that is heavy in education courses and culminates in a state teaching license. Some states require teachers to have a master's degree to meet licensing requirements. You could earn a bachelor's degree in one of the education-related programs and then study reading instruction in a reading or literacy education master's degree program.

Along with your education, you need to spend time in a teaching practicum, where you are observed by full-time teachers. During your training, you can meet any additional licensing requirements while earning experience planning lessons and working with children.

Once you obtain state licensure, you can take the literacy teaching certification exam for early to middle-school children. This national certification is offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another career choice for those interested in literacy and reading is to become a librarian. Librarians create budgets for libraries, coordinate programs, help clients find resources in the library and create and organize library databases. You'll need to earn a master's degree for this position, and employment can be found in both public and private sectors, such as schools and corporations. Also requiring a master's degree, instructional coordinators help to develop curriculum and learning materials used in the classroom. An option requiring only a bachelor's degree is to become a career and technical education teacher. These teachers work with students interested in entering a specific vocation, such as welding or culinary arts. In addition, these teachers have many of the same duties as any other teacher. For example, they assess and evaluate students and develop lesson plans.

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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