Special Education, MEd (Reading Specialist, initial licensure)

Hybrid (Online + Campus)
reading teacher with student

In Short

Defines the knowledge and skills necessary for effective assessment, instruction and leadership in the field of reading.

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What will I do?
  • Emerge as prepared specialist in a leadership role,
  • Prepared to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities

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Check out what students and faculty are saying about our hybrid program!

Degree Overview

This program defines the knowledge and skills necessary for effective assessment, instruction and leadership in the field of reading. It responds to the needs of school districts by preparing specialists in leadership roles, as well as to the needs of students with a wide range of abilities.

The Reading Specialist Program provides candidates with a rigorous, research based curriculum and a range of assessment, teaching and staff development opportunities.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Children or Young Adult Literature
  • Child Development (or equivalent)
  • Principles and Practices of Teaching Reading (or equivalent)

Program Highlights

CAEP accredited

Career Opportunities

  • Title I or Reading Teacher
  • Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach
  • Private Academic Tutor

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.

Register for classes

The reading specialist program classes at Fitchburg State made me very well prepared to take the MTEL test. Several of my colleagues who have already graduated from other programs have been trying to pass for a long time and I passed on my first try. Thanks so much for the wonderful program!

Debbie Tilton, '12

Degrees and Other Information

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. 

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
  • 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. Admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Official transcript of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Professional resume
  • Initial Licensure in early childhood, elementary, middle school or special education
  • Passing scores for the Communication and Literacy subtest of the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL)
  • Official transcripts of graduate level course work from a regionally accredited institution (if applicable)
  • Graduate application and fee
  • 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?

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