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All About Concordia University Chicago’s Master’s and Doctoral Reading Programs

What does the master’s reading program encompass?

Concordia University Chicago’s (CUC) Master of Arts in Reading program provides a theoretical and practical framework for literacy instruction and assessment with an emphasis on current research. The program is designed to strengthen students’ foundational knowledge of the reading and writing processes. Students will apply varied instructional practices, methods, and curriculum materials to literacy instruction. They will learn to use assessment to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction while creating literate environments that foster literacy instruction.

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the Illinois 221 Reading Specialist Test, candidates are eligible for the Illinois Reading Specialist credential, enabling them to work in a reading professional role in early childhood, elementary, middle, and/or secondary Illinois school settings.

A master’s capstone is a requirement for the Master of Arts in Reading. A capstone is a summary of work that demonstrates growth toward, and understanding of, professional standards. The capstone provides an opportunity for performance-based evaluation and promotes reflective practice. It also demonstrates the professional’s competence in using technology and ability to interpret theory into practice. All work required for the capstone is embedded in coursework and practical experience throughout the program.

What does the doctoral reading program encompass?

Concordia University Chicago’s Leadership EdD/PhD program with a specialization in Reading, Language and Literacy provides a theoretical and practical framework for literacy instruction and assessment with an emphasis on current research, theory, reading, writing and multi-literacy programs.

The program enables students to understand theoretical and evidence-based foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction. They learn to use instructional approaches, materials, and an integrated comprehensive, balanced curriculum to support student learning in reading and writing. A variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading and writing instruction are used to create and engage students in literacy practices that develop awareness, understanding, respect and valuing of differences in our society. Students are encouraged to create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge, instructional practices, approaches and methods, curriculum materials, and appropriate use of assessments.

A major step that leads to admission to candidacy in CUC’s doctoral programs is the completion of a comprehensive exam. The exam is designed to evaluate competency in written expression and the ability to reason in relation to a student’s doctoral program area of study. Students must demonstrate the ability to communicate in a scholarly manner throughout the written examination. After coursework and comprehensive exam are complete, students begin their dissertation where they work with a committee to decide on a topic, problem, and/or gap in the research within the Leadership/Reading, Language and Literacy field and conduct a study to help answer that question to fill in the gap.

What differentiates CUC’s graduate reading programs from other schools that offer similar programs?

CUC’s graduate reading programs offer online and face-to-face instruction to provide rigorous, high quality education to a wide range of candidates who wish to develop skills and competencies that are needed to foster a professional career. CUC is proud to engage students in a curriculum that places value on the diversity that exists in our society, as featured in elements such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, and language.

We strive to ensure that our graduates view professional learning and leadership as a career-long effort and responsibility. Throughout their career at CUC students are given multiple opportunities to provide feedback on the program, courses and their understanding. This allows for reflection and provides an opportunity for our programs to continue to be innovative and competitive in the field.

What career opportunities are available to students who graduate from these programs?

Graduates of the Master of Arts in Reading program at CUC have many options available to them upon graduation, such as:

  • Work as a Reading Specialist
  • Work as the Lead Literacy teacher in one or more schools
  • Work as a Literacy Coach
  • Work with Secondary Teachers to integrate literacy into the Content Areas
  • Work in a school district’s central office as a Literacy Specialist
  • Work in the community to develop and deliver literacy programs
  • Teach developmental reading and/or writing at a community college
  • Work with ELL or Special Ed. teachers to integrate literacy more intentionally into their programs

Graduates of the Leadership EdD/PhD program with a specialization in Reading, Language and Literacy are prepared to become faculty and leaders in the creation and implementation of research-based literacy programs in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, colleges and universities, adult and community-based outreach programs, corporate training settings and nonprofit educational endeavors. Graduates of this program have many opportunities available to them, such as:

  • Work in Higher Education as a Reading/Literacy Professor
  • Work in a School District as the Literacy Coordinator/Literacy Curriculum writer
  • Work in the community or business world to create programs to increase people’s reading/literacy skills
  • Serve as a consultant by leading professional development workshops and working with school districts that want to build up their literacy programs.

Why should a prospective student choose these programs?

Concordia University Chicago is a fully accredited, non-profit institution and the programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The education programs are aligned with ISBE standards and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Programs (CAEP) previously (NCATE). The quality and standards of the university and its programs continue to prepare individuals for successful professional careers.