Why You Should Get a Master’s in Literacy

Kelly Nelson-Danley
Kelly Nelson-Danley
Assistant elementary school principal; Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
‘Literacy’ spelled out in block letters surrounded by other letter blocks.

Increasing your capacity in literacy can open the door to a wealth of knowledge and a vast array of opportunities. Earning a master’s degree in literacy can help you expand on your pedagogical knowledge and help you aid others in increasing their literacy skills.

What is a Master’s in Literacy?

A master’s degree in literacy covers a broad range of knowledge. This degree prepares you to meet the literary challenges that students face today and will face in the future. Many programs provide content such as; new technology-based literacy programs and strategies, tools and strategies for how to assess areas of need, tools and strategies to address areas of need, and ways to coach colleagues on meeting the literary needs of students.

Programs for earning a master’s in literacy often include relevant coursework that will incorporate best practices in literacy instruction and development for grades K-12. This coursework is often focused on all aspects of literacy including: exceptional learners, reading intervention, and how to incorporate literacy across all curricular areas.

The curriculum in literacy and language master’s programs are not all alike, however; curriculum typically addresses how people learn to communicate and read, research on reading instruction, learning challenges like Dyslexia, social disparities in literacy, and assistive technology in literacy learning. Courses such as children’s literature, literacy assessment and intervention, and reading difficulties are often present in master’s of literacy programs. These courses help prepare the learner to meet students where they are and grow them as readers and communicators.

Reasons to Get a Master’s in Literacy

There are many reasons one might acquire a master’s in literacy. Firstly, literacy specialist positions will likely always be in demand. Literacy in schools is essential to ensuring students meet reading and literacy goals set both federally and locally. For this reason, reading and literacy specialists are in high demand in the job market overall. Both private and public schools need reading support. The job of a literacy specialist is important and rewarding and can be found throughout kindergarten all the way to high school. With qualifications such as a master’s in literacy, you will be able to help students meet reading goals and help prepare students for the literary skills they will need for the rest of their lives.

Additionally, obtaining a master’s in literacy offers a wide variety of job opportunities. Some of these include, but are not limited to;

  • Reading specialist – elementary
  • Reading specialist- middle/high
  • Adult reading instruction
  • English instructor at the community college level
  • Instructional coaching
  • Title I specialist
  • Educational writer

Benefits of a Degree in Literacy

Not only does obtaining a master’s in literacy open the door to new career opportunities, it also opens the door to an increase in salary. According to the Center for American Progress, a master’s degree can result in a pay increase for teachers ranging between $1,423 to $10,777 annually. The median pay raise is $5,192. This type of pay increase can be very appealing.

A master’s degree in literacy can also qualify you for jobs that just a bachelor’s degree would not allow you to do. Many positions such as instructional coaching and Title 1 specialists require experience in education and a master’s degree in an educational area. Obtaining a master’s in literacy qualifies you for these types of jobs.

A position as a reading specialist may be the most common type of position that educators with a master’s in literacy attain. Becoming a reading specialist can be beneficial in many ways. The role is similar from school to school and includes working one-on-one or with small groups of students who have difficulty reading on grade level. Furthermore, the specialist provides intervention for students that are struggling and assists colleagues in doing the same. Those that are in this position have the opportunity to impact many students.

Even if you are not interested in changing jobs or bumping up your pay, earning a master’s in literacy will expand your knowledge of literacy and how to teach it in a way that will meet the needs of diverse learners. Educators that enter said programs often find interest in exploring new grade levels. For example, elementary educators that participate in a master’s in literacy program will have the opportunity to learn about literacy from a middle and high school perspective, thus giving them an idea of what they are preparing their elementary students for in the future.

In turn, middle and high school educators get the opportunity to see where students get their foundational reading skills and better understand how to bridge the gaps that remain open for students that never received the intervention needed. Additionally, throughout the completion of a master’s in literacy program, you will develop research skills and intervention skills that can be applied at the classroom level. You will become an expert on literacy and how to apply your skills in whatever position you are in.

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