Education Specialties

Master of Education, Reading Specialist

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M.Ed. Information

Dr. Patricia Richards, Program Director410-543-6379


Reading Specialist


The Master of Education Reading Specialist Program is a professional degree and certification program designed to prepare reading educators in instructional and leadership capacities for K-12 school settings. Theory and practice are complimentary throughout program course work. Students who complete the M.Ed. Reading Specialist Program are eligible for MSDE reading specialist certification. The Reading Specialist Program is aligned with national standards for the preparation of reading professionals, as established by the International Reading Association and NCATE. It also reflects principles of Maryland’s Redesign for Teacher Education. The curriculum promotes understanding of the relationship of all productive and receptive language processes in literacy development, as well as the factors that may disrupt that development. Through research and study, candidates become familiar with the knowledge base of the reading field. This knowledge is extended through action research projects in real classroom settings.

An essential element of the Reading Specialist Program is preparation to assess the literacy needs of individuals of all ages and to design appropriate instructional programs. Clinical practica with individuals and small groups provide hands-on experience under the supervision of experienced reading professionals. Toward the end of their program, candidates also have opportunities to supervise the reading instruction of paraprofessionals and pre-service teachers.h

Reading specialists are instructional leaders and advocates for literacy. Experiences with curriculum development and reading program organization are provided through course work. Candidates will have opportunities to prepare professional presentations and publications, and to take leadership roles in community literacy activities and political advocacy.

General objectives of the Master of Education Reading Specialist Program are for candidates to:

  1. develop knowledge of a theoretical base for language acquisition, given a variety of conditions and situations;
  2. develop knowledge of a theoretical base for the interaction of all language processes in literacy development;
  3. develop knowledge of a theoretical base and practical application for reading instruction at all developmental levels;
  4. develop understanding of the nature and causes of reading difficulties;
  5. develop ability to base literacy instruction on assessment findings from a range of instruments and strategies;
  6. develop knowledge and ability to organize and enhance a reading program; and
  7. participate in professional development activities at local, state, and national levels.


Candidates for the M.Ed. Reading Specialist Program must submit the Application for Graduate Program Admission, the application fee, official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, and the Residency/Domicile Information form (if applying for in-state tuition as a Maryland resident) and the following additional application documents requirements of the Reading Specialist Program.

  1. submit an application for admission, including three recommendations from qualified individuals who support the candidate’s ability for graduate study in reading;
  2. possess an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher;
  3. possess a current elementary, secondary, or K-12 teaching certificate;
  4. meet with an advisor in the Education Specialties Department to discuss the program of study.

The Application for Graduate Program Admission, transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, and the Residency/Domicile Information form (if applying for in-state tuition as a Maryland resident) should be submitted to the Office of Admissions. Once the application and all transcripts arrive in the Admissions Office, the application file will be forwarded to the graduate education program. The documents and requirements specified by the Education Specialties Department should be sent to the graduate program coordinator. Following the review of these materials, the program coordinator formally notifies the candidate of admission or denial of admission to the program.

Course Requirements

Candidates seeking the M.Ed. Reading Specialist Degree complete an approved program of study including at least 33 semester hours of graduate credit with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher (a minimum of 24 hours completed at SU), with no grade lower than C, and no more than six credit hours of C or C+ in the program.

The M.Ed. Reading Specialist is a Maryland State Department of Education-approved program. Candidates who complete the M.Ed. Reading Specialist Program and who meet the requirement of 27 months of satisfactory teaching performance will be eligible for the Reading Specialist certificate. However, it is the responsibility of the candidate to understand and fulfill all state requirements and to make application to the state for certification. Candidates in states other than Maryland should consult with their state Department of Education to determine specific certification requirements.

Also, candidates are expected to complete a professional portfolio throughout the program, demonstrating their achievement of all required competencies. The portfolio should contain artifacts demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of reading professionals, as well as reflective analysis of those artifacts and the learning experiences that led to their development. Portfolio requirements are presented in REED 500, and the portfolio is presented by the candidate in REED 620. Portfolio development occurs throughout all courses in the M.Ed. Reading Specialist Program. These courses are as follows:

REED 500 Research in Reading Education
REED 515 Written and Oral Language Development 
REED 516 Foundations of Reading: Elementary 
REED 517 Foundations of Reading: Secondary 
REED 518 Diversity and Literacy
REED 520 Literature for Children and Adolescents ......................3
REED 610 Assessment of Literacy Development ........................3
REED 611 Clinical Practicum I......................................................3
REED 612 Clinical Practicum II ....................................................3
REED 614 Leadership for Reading Programs ..............................3 
REED 620 Research Seminar in Reading ....................................3

M.Ed., Reading Specialist Checklist also available as PDF.

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