Interdisciplinary Studies - Reading Specialist, CAGS (online)

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)
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In Short

For students choosing to study the fields of Fundamentals of Reading Instruction and Assessment and Leadership in Literacy Instruction as part of the CAGS in Interdisciplinary.

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What will I do?
  • Work with an advisor from the graduate reading specialist program to develop a plan of study
  • Study an integrated core curriculum, research, supervised professional practicum, and a capstone experience

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Degree Overview

Students choosing the disciplines of Fundamentals of Reading Instruction and Assessment and Leadership in Literacy Instruction complete a practicum and seminar as their capstone experience, which leads to initial licensure as a Reading Specialist.

Program Highlights

Program leads to Initial Licensure as a Reading Specialist.

Career Opportunities

  • Title I or Remedial Reading Teacher
  • Literacy Coach
  • Private Academic Tutoring Business

Total Credits

36 credits

Time Frame

While you can complete the program in as few as two years, you have six years to complete the program.

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This program is comprehensive, practical and diverse. It was designed to give each candidate the finest and most up-to-date research-based instruction in preparation for them to be literacy leaders for the future.

Rosemary Reidy, '11

Degrees and Other Information

  • Candidates develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of various points of view. They are able to distinguish between successful and unsuccessful arguments and generate well-formed opinions of their own. 
  • Candidates understand the theoretical foundations of educational research and can determine the implications for instructional practice. They are able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of various types of studies and sampling procedures and can identify sources of research bias. 
  • Candidates synthesize research on best practices in education and implement action research to evaluate the efficacy of an instructional practice.
  • Candidates gain knowledge of the theoretical, historical, and research-based practices related to the development of literacy and language. An emphasis is placed on scientifically based reading instruction. 
  • Candidates develop expertise in analyzing and adapting curricula to support the literacy needs of all learners. This includes listening, speaking, reading and writing. 
  • Candidates develop proficiency in the assessment of student literacy achievement using a range of formative, summative and normative assessments. 
  • Candidates are able to evaluate the technical adequacy and cultural appropriateness of specific instruments used for screening, progress monitoring and diagnosis. 
  • Candidates analyze assessment data to effectively communicate results to a variety of stakeholders and to develop literacy instruction for a broad range of learners. 
  • Candidates create inclusive classrooms, advocate for equity and affirm students’ identities through experiences that encourage scholarship in the areas of diversity and equity.  
  • Candidates develop competency in a variety of instructional strategies using print and digital materials to motivate and engage all learners. 
  • Candidates develop the leadership skills necessary to facilitate ongoing school and district literacy initiatives and to promote professional development activities.  
  • Candidates develop coaching skills through authentic, school-based experiences that are supervised by qualified literacy professionals 
  • Candidates develop expertise in the development, implementation, and evaluation of literacy instructional plans through a supervised practicum experience. 

Adapted from Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017). International Literacy Association 

Tuition and Fees

Students pursuing the initial licensure programs for Reading Specialists, including the CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies/Reading Specialist concentration, the M.Ed. in Special Education/Reading Specialist concentration, and the Reading Specialist Graduate Certificate program, may be eligible for the Dr. Rosemarie Giovino Reading Specialist Scholarship. Students in these programs who have taken SPED/READ 7016 and SPED/READ 7017, and who also hold or are pursuing Wilson Language Level I certification are eligible. Other criteria apply.

Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling admission basis. Admission requirements are as follows:

  • Official transcripts of a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Initial Massachusetts licensure in early childhood, elementary, middle school or special education
  • Have taught under an Initial Massachusetts Educator License for a minimum of one year
  • Passing scores on the Communication and Literacy MTEL
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Professional resume
  • Graduate application and fee
  • Prerequisite courses completed
    • Children or Young Adult Literature
    • Child Development (or equivalent)
    • Principles and Practices of Teaching Reading (or equivalent)
  • An essay, no more than one page in length, in response to one of the following questions:
    • Tell us about a positive situation in which you helped a person and made a significant difference in that person’s life.
    • What are the most important factors in establishing a long-term working relationship with students, friends, etc.?
    • Tell us about a significant event that involved you in a teaching or helping mode.
      • Describe the situation as it occurred at the time.
      • What did you do in that particular situation?
      • How did you feel about the situation at the time you were experiencing it?
      • How do you feel about the situation now?
      • What would you change, if anything?

*Candidates must successfully pass the Stage Review prior to enrolling in this capstone experience; the Stage Review includes a passing score on the Reading Specialist MTEL.

Note: Prior to completion of the program of study, initial licensure candidates are required to take the Fitchburg State University ESE-approved SEI course in order to be endorsed for licensure.

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