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M.Ed. with Reading Specialist Certification

Program of Study

The Masters Degree in Reading program of study is nationally recognized by the International Reading Association (July 2012) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (April 2013).   This program of study adheres to the International Reading Association Code of Ethics

If you already hold a Master of Education degree, you may be interested in the Reading Specialist Certification program.


  • 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 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.

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 Checksheets

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 Reading 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 Reading 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. How to apply for teacher certification

Widener Doctoral Program   

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with Widener University, offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program in Reading and Language Arts.  For more information contact Dr. Sandy Chambers, Doctoral Program coordinator, at

Graduate Reading Faculty:

Dr. Jeanie Burnett
Dr. Sandy Chambers
Dr. Catherine McGeehan
Dr. Mary Ann O'Neil
Dr. Darlene Schoenly