Young teacher sitting at a table with a very young student helping her read a book.

All About Point Park University’s Reading Specialist Certification Programs

What is Point Park’s M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with Reading Specialist Certification program?

The M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with Reading Specialist Certification Program is designed for classroom teachers and other educational professionals who have a strong desire to become a reading specialist or literacy coach/curriculum leader for a school or district.

The program is intended for those who want to obtain a reading specialist certificate, along with the master’s in curriculum and instruction. It is a total of 36 credits that can be completed in approximately 2 years and in a fully online cohort model.

What are the program goals of Point Park’s M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with Reading Specialist Certification program?

The program goals, which are based on the International Literacy Association Standards and PDE Requirements, are:

  • Demonstrating knowledge of the theoretical, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language.
  • Using foundational knowledge to analyze and implement literacy curricula to meet the needs of all learners.
  • Designing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based literacy instruction for all learners.
  • Understanding, selecting, and using reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools to screen, diagnose, and measure achievement in order to make informed instructional and intervention decisions.
  • Demonstrating essential concepts around diversity and equity.
  • Providing opportunities for understanding all forms of diversity central to student learning.
  • Meeting the needs of all learners by collaborating with all school personnel regarding materials, technology, and fostering an environment that supports literacy-rich learning.
  • Providing ongoing professional learning as part of career-long leadership roles and responsibilities.

What is Point Park University’s Pennsylvania K-12 Reading Specialist Certification-Only program?

The Reading Specialist Certification-Only program at Point Park University provides students with the opportunity to complete the 24-credit program in a fully online cohort model. This program also includes hands-on learning through required field experiences through the coursework, as well as a practicum/capstone course where students will work with a reading specialist mentor. The practicum courses are in a clinical setting and apply strategies, skills, and knowledge with school-aged children. As part of the practicum course, the student will develop a reading specialist portfolio demonstrating their competence in reading assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and instruction. The student must also successfully complete the PRAXIS 5301 exam before being awarded the certificate.

What sets Point Park University’s Reading Specialist programs apart from other schools with similar programs?

The Point Park University M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with Reading Specialist Certification Program and Reading Specialist Certification-Only Program will be taught by certified faculty that are reading specialists and have years of experience in the public-school setting. It not only prepares professional educators to be able to design, implement, and evaluate curriculum and innovative teaching and learning strategies, but also develop various assessment instruments. It also includes the additional reading specialist certification that will open new doors for the professional seeking this certification. This degree program enables students to work at their own pace in an eight-week format, cohort model while holding full-time positions.

What career opportunities will open up for students who enroll in the programs?

The rationale for creating this program is two-fold. There exists a need for educational professionals to be available to the classroom teacher to help with the wide range of abilities of students in literacy programs. Secondly, classroom teachers need guidance in new research methods in the area of literacy.

The role of the reading specialist is to work with children who are struggling with reading within the regular reading program. This certification allows the professional to become prepared to specifically work with these children. With the vast array of children’s reading abilities within today’s classrooms, the reading specialist can assist the classroom teacher in two ways. First, by providing the classroom teacher with specific strategies and assessments that the struggling student needs. Second, to work with the struggling reader individually or in small groups by providing the specific instruction, assessment, and diagnosis needed to improve their reading skills.