The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Literacy -- Reading Specialist Certification 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.