MA, Reading Education, K-12 Specialist

Study Format Online, On Campus
Program Length 30 credits*, 24 months


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Concordia University Chicago’s Master of Arts in reading education program provides a theoretical and practical framework for literacy instruction and assessment within an emphasis on current research. The program also provides candidates the opportunity to receive a rigorous, high quality educational program that encourages the development of skills and competencies that will be needed throughout the candidates’ professional career as a reading specialist or literacy coach. 

Credentialing Requirements 

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.

*The Illinois Reading Specialist credential requires Illinois licensure (PEL). Students with out-of-state licensure are welcome to enroll in the Reading Education program, but are not eligible for the Illinois Reading Specialist credential. Questions regarding reciprocity by state should be directed toward the student’s state of licensure, or (Illinois State Board of Education).

To be eligible for the Illinois Reading Specialist credential, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a valid Illinois PEL prior to entering program
  • Complete the Master of Arts in Reading coursework
  • Pass all State of Illinois examinations
  • Have successfully completed two years of lead teaching experience

Program Requirements

Candidates are required to complete an eight-course program of study with embedded field work in reading for a total of 30 graduate credit hours, including practicum experiences at both the elementary and intermediate/upper level as well as the capstone experience.

Learning Competencies

  • Understand the principles, practices and problems in public and private school programs with an emphasis on application of current theory and research in reading education.
  • Interpret the historical development of reading education in America, utilizing contemporary curriculum organization models and pertinent research.
  • Analyze contemporary reading and instruction issues in the United States, including the obstacles and challenges faced by educators and current educational policy-making and reform.
  • Synthesize reading curriculum, teaching and pedagogy into effective teacher leadership in classrooms and beyond.
  • Create appropriate strategies for improved teacher practice and successful learning outcomes.
  • Develop the professional habit and responsibility for reflective practice, both in general classroom pedagogy and in the specific learning perspectives of individual students. 

Program Objectives

This program will enable candidates to:

  • Strengthen their foundational knowledge of reading and writing processes.
  • Apply varied instructional practices, methods, and curriculum materials to literacy instruction.
  • Use assessment to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction.
  • Create literate environments that foster literacy instruction.
  • View professional development in reading as a career-long effort.
  • 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. 


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