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Reading Specialist Certification

Master of Education with Certification

Convenient | Comprehensive | Contemporary


Program of Study

The Master of Education with Reading Specialist Certification is an online/blended program designed to meet the needs of working professionals.  The goals of the program are three fold.  First, it is intended to prepare reading specialist/literacy coaches who can plan, implement, and maintain a developmental instructional program.  Second, it provides teachers with the ability to recognize and work effectively with learners who have varying degrees of difficulty in reading, or who have other learning problems.  Third, it prepares teachers to collaborate with peers while working as reading specialists/literacy coaches to support best practices in literacy.  Download our brochure for more information about our nationally recognized program.

The Masters Degree in Reading program of study is nationally recognized by the International Literacy Association (July 2017) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (April 2013).   This program of study adheres to the International Literacy Association Code of Conduct.

If you already hold a Master of Education degree, you may be interested in the Reading Specialist Certification program or our Instructional Coach Endorsement Certificate.


  • The Reading Specialist certificate may be obtained in the Master of Education in Reading and Reading Specialist programs only as an added certificate to a valid Pennsylvania Instructional I or II teaching certificate.  The teaching certificate needs to be in an area which includes coursework in reading. (e.g., secondary education, elementary education, special education, early childhood).
  • Effective January 1, 2011: The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has enacted legislation which is reflected in Chapter 49-2 requirements regarding certification programs. Chapter 49-2 requirements for the Accommodations and Adaptations of English Language Learners (ELL) stipulate at least 9 credits (270 hours) of coursework in Special Education and at least 3 credits (90 hours) of coursework in English as a Second Language.  All certification candidates who enroll in a certification program after January 1, 2011 will need to meet the PDE requirements unless they have met these requirements in a previous certificate. Please know that the Foundation and Application Level coursework in the Graduate Reading program already has embedded 6 credits (180 hours) in Special Education. 

M.Ed. Reading Specialist Certification

Program Completion Requirements:

  • Valid Pennsylvania Instructional I or II certificate*
  • 36 credit hours
  • Comprehensive Program Portfolio
  • Praxis Reading Specialist Exam.

* Applicants who hold out-of-state certification or invalid PA certificates, may be admitted conditionally, but will not be able to complete the program until they hold a valid PA Instructional I certificate.

The Graduate Reading program does not award, or recommend candidates for the initial Instruction I or II certificate. The goals of the program are three fold. First, it is intended to prepare reading specialists/literacy coaches who can plan, implement, and maintain a developmental instructional program. Second, it provides teachers with the ability to recognize and work effectively with learners who have varying degrees of difficulty in reading, or who have other learning problems. Third, it prepares teachers to collaborate with peers while working as reading specialists/literacy coaches to support best practices in literacy. The focus of the program is both preventive and corrective. In order to meet professional standards, the program includes a combination of theoretical and practical experiences and activities. 

Applicants who hold a valid Pennsylvania (PA) Instructional I or II Certificate, have taken the Praxis Reading Specialist Exam and successfully completed all required reading education and degree requirements will be issued a Master of Education degree.  Those who have passed the Praxis Reading Specialist Exam and have met the preceding requirements will be recommended to the PA Department of Education for Reading Specialist certification.

Program Completion: All students accepted into the programs described above must complete all requirements within six (6) calendar years.  

Application Information: To apply for either the Masters of Education in Reading program (which includes Reading Specialist certification) or for the Reading Specialist certification program, visit the Graduate Admissions website and follow the application procedures. For this program, the admissions requirement of an acceptable score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may be satisfied by any one of the following:

  • Passing score on the Praxis II examinations
  • Passing score on the National Teacher Examination
  • Ten years teaching experience in an elementary or secondary school with appropriate certification

Three Application Form/ Recommendation Forms must be used for recommendations in the application packet.  Recommendations should be requested from professionals in the field, e.g., principal, professional colleague, university professor.  Download the form.

Application for Candidacy: All teachers accepted into the program (excluding those on probationary status) should make application for candidacy after completion of between twelve (12) and twenty-four (24) graduate credits with an academic average of 3.0.  At least six (6) credits must be from the area of specialization. Teachers should apply online for candidacy. A secondary method is to download the Application for Candidacy Form from the Graduate Studies website, complete the form, obtain his/her advisor's signature, and forward the application to the Registrar's Office, 115 Stratton Administration Center.  Candidacy must be obtained at least one semester before the degree is granted.

Quotation Mark

Don’t be afraid to reach out, professors are always available. Don’t be afraid to speak up during class because in grad school your classmates are coming from all over, including different districts, and it’s important to hear what each other experiences.

Logan Metcalf, 2022
Course Schedule


  • ERS 513 
  • ERS 502
  • ERS 514 
  • ERS 579
  • Possible elective


  • ERS 504  
  • ERS 574 
  • ERS 577 
  • ELU 532


  • ERS 506 
  • ERS 578 
  • ELU 531 
  • Possible  elective

Graduate Reading Faculty:
  • Admissions Requirements and Deadlines
    • Application
    • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities
    • Teaching Certification
    • Three letters of recommendation


    Fall semester: August 1st

    Spring semester: December 1st

    Summer sessions: May 1st

  • Program Requirements

    I. Required Coursework (27 hours)

    • Foundation Level Courses (15  hours)
      • EDU 502 Seminar in Research Foundations Pertinent to Reading
      • EDU 504 Literacy Curriculum & Instruction: Pre K-3
      • EDU 506 Literacy Curriculum & Instruction: Grades 4-8
      • EDU 513 Literacy Curriculum & Instruction: Adolescent - High School
      • EDU 514 The Reading Specialist & Intensified Instruction
    • Application Level Courses (12 hours)
      • EDU 574 Assessment of Reading: Clinical Practicum in Reading Diagnosis  (PREREQUISITES: all Foundation Level courses
      • EDU 579 Practicum in Literacy Instruction: Struggling Readers and Writers (PREREQUISITES : EDU 574 and admission to candidacy); six credits
      • EDU 577 Leadership for Reading Educators  (PREREQUISITES: all Foundation Level courses)

    Program Check sheets

    II. Required Electives (9 hours)

    Candidates are advised to select electives that will benefit them as reading specialists/literacy coaches.  Courses related to diversity, children's literature, writing instruction, curriculum, and technology are highly recommended.  Courses in other areas may be taken in consultation with their advisors.  Please know that EDW courses will not count as electives in the Program.

    III. Comprehensive Program Portfolio

    As a summative evaluation, a comprehensive program portfolio is required. The portfolio will reflect the professional standards of the International Literacy Association. Candidates must have completed all their reading courses or be enrolled in their final reading course in order to present their comprehensive portfolios.  Presentations will be made to graduate reading faculty three times during the year : in April (May graduation);  June (August graduation); and November (December graduation).

    The Program is recognized by the International Literacy Association and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. 

    IV. Completion of Reading Specialist Praxis Exam

    In order to graduate, all candidates must take or provide proof of registration for the Reading Specialist Praxis Exam and have official scores on file at Kutztown University. In order to receive reading specialist certification, candidates must pass the Reading Specialist Praxis Exam and apply for certification.

    Application for Graduation:

    Application for graduation must be made through MyKU, following the directions provided.   Candidates should contact the Registrar's Office for questions. Please note that graduation (formal ceremony) occurs only in May and December.  However, recommendations to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for issuance of Reading Specialist Certification will be made upon completion of all requirements.  Also, for salary purposes, upon request, a letter can be sent to a school district indicating completion of program requirements.

    Application for Certification:

    The Pennsylvania Department of Education now requires that each candidate submit her/his application online using the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).   Application should be made after the completion of all requirements which includes obtaining a passing score on the Reading Specialist Praxis Exam and receiving your final GPA.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Reading (M.Ed.)
    1. Foundational Knowledge: Candidates demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language and the ways in which they interrelate and the role of literacy professionals in schools.
    2. Curriculum and Instruction: Candidates use foundational knowledge to critique and implement literacy curricula to meet the needs of all learners and to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based literacy instruction for all learners.
    3. Assessment and Evaluation: Candidates understand, select, and use valid, reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools to screen, diagnose, and measure student literacy achievement; inform instruction and evaluate interventions; participate in professional learning experiences; explain assessment results and advocate for appropriate literacy practices to relevant stakeholders.
    4. Diversity and Equity: Candidates demonstrate knowledge of research, relevant theories, pedagogies, essential concepts of diversity and equity; demonstrate and provide opportunities for understanding all forms of diversity as central to students' identities; create classrooms and schools that are inclusive and affirming; advocate for equity at school, district, and community levels.
    5. Learners and the Literacy Environment: Candidates meet the developmental needs of all learners and collaborate with school personnel to use a variety of print and digital materials to engage and motivate all learners; integrate digital technologies in appropriate, safe, and effective ways; foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.
    6. Professional Learning and Leadership: Candidates recognize the importance of, participate in, and facilitate ongoing professional learning as part of career-long leadership roles and responsibilities.
    7. Practicum/Clinical Experiences (for specialized literacy professionals only): Candidates apply theory and best practice in multiple supervised practicum/clinical experiences.

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