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MS - Reading

This Master of Science (MS) in Reading concentration prepares future leaders in the field of literacy instruction in all settings, such as P-12 classrooms, adult literacy programs, school districts and other learning, research and policy-making environments.

Various evidence-based instructional approaches and perspectives on literacy are presented and examined during the course of study. A foundation in cognitive psychological issues is provided, as well as coursework in sociocultural and critical dimensions of literacy. Candidates learn to organize creative and effective learning environments and to evaluate, design, produce and implement programs and strategies to teach literacy to young children, adolescents and adults. Practical assessment and meaningful instruction are treated as integrated processes to address the needs of all learners for differentiation, including those who struggle with reading and writing, are gifted students and represent culturally, economically and linguistically diverse experiences.

The program is designed for working professionals, therefore most courses are scheduled in late afternoon or evening hours. Although some courses are offered at the Homewood campus in Baltimore, the majority of classes meet at the Columbia Center, located approximately midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Candidates develop a professional digital portfolio for presentation as they move toward graduation. This portfolio includes practical research and research reviews, philosophy statements, literacy program designs, multimedia and other literacy materials, and reports from supervised clinical experiences. This portfolio represents a demonstration of the ability of the candidate to fully participate in the diagnostic, prescriptive, treatment, monitoring and accommodation processes needed in the current inclusive learning environment. Research-based approaches to these components will be emphasized.

In consultation with an adviser, candidates plan a 39-credit program of study, culminating in and including clinical practicum experiences and portfolio review. Candidates completing the course of study with initial teacher certification and three years of successful teaching experience fulfill the requirements for certification as a reading specialist in the state of Maryland. The program is nationally recognized by the International Literacy Association and the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education.

All students must provide evidence of a satisfactory federal and state criminal background check at the beginning of the program and before each course in which work with people are involved.

Program Mission, Goals, and Student Outcomes

Program Plan (39 credits)

884.604 Emergent Literacy: Research into Practice
This course addresses in-depth instructional issues involving emergent literacy processes. Topics include the application of current literacy theory to alphabetics, word identification, and word study strategies for classroom instruction; designing and providing authentic early literacy experiences and literacy-rich environments; and strategies and methods for storytelling and in developing contextual oral reading fluency. (3 credits)
884.615 Cross-Cultural Studies in Literacy
Students in this class investigate how culture, language, school and out-of-school literacy experiences, and education policy influence student attitude, learning, and content area knowledge. Participants evaluate multicultural literacy research, curriculum, literature, and new literacies, and how social and cultural factors contribute to daily classroom literacy instruction and everyday life. The course emphasizes creating democratic and culturally sensitive learning environments.
884.617 Children and Adolescent Literature
This course examines in-depth instructional issues involving multiple genres of children and adolescent literature. Topics include the examination of text structures in informational, expository, and narrative materials; effective identification and selection of instructional and independent level texts for student reading; developing awareness of literature about, and resources related to, culturally diverse groups in the United States; understanding self as a reader and to use that understanding to inform teaching practices, engagement and motivational issues related to text instruction and selection; and how digital literature can be used in classroom instruction. (3 credits)
884.610 Advanced Diagnosis for Reading Instruction
This course advances and refines the knowledge of students about advanced diagnostic processes in determining reading difficulties and designing appropriate and related interventions. Case study and small group collaboration are used to develop students' abilities to integrate data from multiple sources, generate diagnostic profiles, and make instructional recommendations. Students learn to administer standardized and criterion-referenced assessments and about the principles, philosophies, and strategies of effective remedial approaches. (3 credits)
881.611 Action Research for School Improvement
Students explore the role of the educator as an action researcher, with special emphasis on formulating and refining research questions as well as on selecting appropriate methodologies for classroom or school-based research. Students review research as a tool for assessing and improving teaching/learning environments.
884.642 Linguistics for Teachers
This course acquaints teachers and other reading professionals with aspects of linguistic theory that apply in elementary and secondary classrooms. Emphasis is on a thorough, research-based understanding of phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. Students learn ways to use the information to strengthen existing reading and language arts instruction. Issues of cultural diversity, second language learning, and developmental issues of language are covered in this interactive format.
884.811 Supervised Clinical Practicum I for Masters in Reading Candidates
This first practicum is a midpoint program experience for Reading candidates. Candidates demonstrate abilities to translate literacy education research into practice. The overarching intent of Practicum I is to develop literacy education leaders while refining candidates’ knowledge and applications of research. Coursework centers on actual work with children and allows candidates to provide evidence of their mastery of reading education skills and strategies. ( 3 credits)
881.622 Advanced Instructional Strategies
Students review recent research on effective instruction and explore advanced classroom strategies and techniques designed to enhance their effectiveness in meeting the needs of diverse populations of learners. Examples include direct instruction, cooperative learning, dimensions of learning, creative problem solving, and applications of technology to thinking and learning. Students develop expert teaching skills and learn to diagnose and deliver instructional strategies that are most appropriate in specific circumstances.
884.701 Reading Comprehension and Critical Literacy
Building on the instructional strategies and skills of earlier coursework, this advanced graduate course examines classic and contemporary research and theory in reading comprehension and critical literacy and how these dimensions and processes are applied to literacy education. During the course, students learn to explore and appreciate the diversity of literacy research perspectives, and to learn to think and write critically and analytically about research, literacy education policy, and practices that influence and are used in classroom education. These topics are overlapped by advanced instructional methods and strategies for teaching students reading comprehension and critical literacy skills and dispositions. (3 credits)
884.850 Clinical Practicum in Writing and Other Media
Reading and writing printed texts have been, by tradition, interconnected processes. In the Digital Age, other media, such as still and moving images and audio texts, increasingly coexist alongside printed texts. During this practicum experience, candidates examine current issues involving the communication shifts that are occurring in the 21st century. Using digital literacies, writing, and object-centered multimedia ideas and instructional approaches, candidates work with teachers and students in designing, producing, and using new and traditional literacies to best prepare themselves and others for advancing technologies and practices that are changing the ways that people communicate and network.
884.620 Seminar in Reading: Roles of the Reading Specialist
Students in the final year present and evaluate their projects and plans for addressing the needs of students at all levels of reading ability in their classrooms, schools, and school districts. In addition, participants examine selected topics and issues in reading instruction.
884.820 Supervised Clinical Practicum in Reading II
This second practicum is a capstone course that builds on all previous program coursework and especially the pre-requisite ED.884.620 Seminar in Reading: Roles of the Reading Specialist course. Work concentrates on developing effective reading specialist and literacy coaching qualities and skills, facilitating change in school communities, and fostering teacher growth and student achievement. A strong emphasis of the course is on job-embedded professional development. Candidates deliver demonstration lessons and lesson planning assistance to teachers and conduct professional development workshops in school settings. The practicum allows candidates to provide evidence of their mastery of particular ILA leadership/reading specialist standards.

Choose one of the following elective courses for a total of 3 credits.The elective course must be taken during the second half of the program. All candidate choices must be determined in consultation with, and approved by, the academic adviser.

884.612 Teaching Reading and Writing in the Content Areas to ESL Students
The reading process for speakers of other languages is examined so that participants are able to provide a variety of instructional, cognitive, motivation, and study skill strategies. Technology instruction is addressed for teaching ESL students Internet skills, as well as other computer applications to enhance reading and writing skills. Participants become familiar with the English Language Arts Content Standards, the Core Learning Goals, and their relationship to the ESL Content Standards.
884.703 Seminar in Adolescent Literacy Education
The Seminar in Adolescent Literacy Education provides opportunities for students to explore the latest research, theory, and literacy education practices for adolescents in a seminar format. Topics include novel and useful technologies, motivating reluctant readers, and cultural and linguistic diversity in adolescent literacy education.
882.511 Human Growth and Development: A Lifespan Perspective
Students consider an overview of the physical, social, and emotional aspects of human development throughout the lifespan. The course considers developmental theory and reviews current areas of research.
(884.703 offered during the spring semester only)

Admissions Requirements

  • Completion of online application
  • Submission of application fee
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (Cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or better)
  • Essay
  • A current resume or CV
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Selected applicants who meet the entrance requirements may be invited to interview

For more information on the application process, please view the SOE Admissions page.


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Faculty Contact
Mary Ellen Lewis

Academic Coordinator
Kyuanna Napper