PhD in Reading & Literacy Education Programs - PhD in Literacy
Earning a PhD in reading education and literacy teaches how to analyze current theories and apply research to create more effective curriculum in teaching literacy to students of all ages. Continue reading to learn about the common courses, available concentrations and electives, and the common admissions requirements for the doctoral programs in reading education and literacy.
Did You Know? Reports show that the rate of low literacy in the United States costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.
What Is Literacy Education?While literacy is the ability to read and write, more and more educational programs are considering literacy to include the complete understanding and confident use of language. Therefore, literacy education doesn’t just focus on one’s ability to read and write, but rather a person’s ability to use language as a way to communicate in one’s culture and society.
All About Reading Education and Literacy Doctoral DegreesAs the definition of literacy and the importance of reading continues to change, doctoral programs in the field need to stay ahead of trends and concerns. Therefore, one of the key aspects of earning your doctorate in reading degree include contributing your own theories and research to the field through your dissertation.
Admissions Requirements for Doctorate in Reading and Literacy ProgramsSome of the common admissions requirements for a PhD in reading education and literacy programs include:
- Master’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Official transcripts
- Statement of goals
- Professional resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Letters of recommendation
Graduation Requirements PhD LiteracyWhile every program has unique requirements when it comes to earning your doctorate, some of the most common requirements include:
- Complete required courses (usually a combination of core courses and electives)
- Comprehensive exam
- Dissertation (propose, write, present, and defend in front of a board of faculty)
What You’ll Learn in a PhD in LiteracyLiteracy and reading education doctoral programs are designed to build upon your previous education and work experience to teach a complete understanding of all the elements involved in teaching students how to communicate. More and more, this includes analyzing and including, when relevant, all sources of reading, such as social media, websites, and information regarding the sociopolitical landscape. One of the reasons for this is because of the nature of communication and the changing definition of literacy to include all types of communication in our society. Other key topics in reading education and literacy PhD programs are:
- Analyze the changing curriculum to meet new requirements and standards
- Analyze the challenges faced in improving literacy and reading assessments
- Develop literacy programs that enhance students’ ability to communicate
- Support the professional development of teachers
- Apply current theories, research, and best practices to improve one’s professional practice
Common Curriculum in a PhD in Literacy StudiesWhile earning a PhD in reading education and literacy, common courses include:
- Responding to Literature
- Multicultural Issues in Education
- Issues in Instructional Leadership in Reading and Writing
- Leading and Managing Literacy Programs
- Program Improvement in Reading and Literacy
- Reading and Literacy Assessment and Evaluation
Key Concepts of a Doctorate in Reading and LiteracyAs literacy continues to include one’s entire ability to communicate and comprehend language, and as technology continues to alter the way we read and gather information, there are many issues that arise in helping both children and adults improve their reading and writing skills. Some of the issues that many doctoral programs in reading education teach include:
- Media literacy: distinguishing between credible and incredible sources on the internet and how to think critically about the information, even from credible sources.
- Personalized learning: technology and various software allows teachers to create more personalized programs for students, who may have dramatically different comprehension levels even in the same class or age group.
- Apply data: understanding how to track the success or failures of different techniques and methods with a specific set of students means you can create more effective curriculum.
- Continued professional development: engage in critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving and conduct field-based research to improve your professional practice.
- Understand the context of schools: design and deliver assessment-driven standards based curriculum, instruction, and training and demonstrate the vision to lead classrooms and schools as adaptive learning environments.
What Is Language and Literacy?According to new research, the first three years of life are a critical period for language development because a child’s brain is developing rapidly. In fact, some research suggests that a baby can distinguish the sounds of his or her native language while still in the womb. This means that language development and literacy are integral parts of a child’s learning. However, that doesn’t mean that those lessons should stop. In fact, the importance of literacy is that it should continue developing throughout one’s life. Therefore, one of the key aspects of a doctorate in reading education and literacy is how to effectively develop language throughout the different stages of one’s life, which include creating curriculum and lesson plans for:
- Early childhood
- Elementary students
- Secondary students
- Adult learners
Possible Concentrations for a PhD in Reading Education and LiteracyOften, reading education and literacy is a concentration for a Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education. Therefore, few programs offer additional concentrations for your degree. Though there may not be many, some of the available concentrations include:
- Children’s and Young Adult Literature
- Early Childhood and Elementary Literacy
- English as a Foreign Language (EFL), English as a Second Language (ESL), World Languages
Available ElectivesHowever, many doctorates allow you the option of choosing a certain number of electives, which may include courses in fields such as:
- Teacher education
- Pedagogy and curriculum
- Urban education
- Adult and community based literacy
- Multicultural education
- Literacy in international contexts
Different Degree NamesAs in many education fields, there are different types of doctoral degrees conferred in reading education and literacy programs. The two most common are:
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Important Tip: Some schools also offer an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree, which falls between a master’s and a doctorate. Though these are advanced degrees and may jumpstart your career, be sure to recognize that they are not academically equivalent to a doctorate.
Choose Your Learning FormatMany programs allow you the option to choose how you want to pursue your degree. For instance, many schools offer an on-campus PhD in reading education and literacy and an online option as well. These formats are academically equivalent, but allow you to choose the format that works best for you, your learning style, and your goals. For example, online doctoral programs in reading education and literacy may offer you the flexibility to view lectures, take exams, and post to course message boards whenever it is convenient for you, making online PhD in literacy and reading specialist PhD programs online a popular choice. In addition, sometimes online programs have additional requirements such as attending at least one residency on-campus. However, this is not required of all online programs. On the other hand, on-campus programs provide you the ability to gain face-to-face time with your professors and classmates, which may create more sense of camaraderie. Before applying, be sure to consider your goals and how you learn to make sure that you find the perfect program for you.
Did You Know? The BLS projects that the number of postsecondary teachers will increase 9% during the ten years from 2019 to 2029.
Potential Careers in Reading and LiteracyThere are a number of careers that you may pursue upon earning your reading education and literacy doctoral degree. Some of these, and the 2019 median annual salary according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are:
- Postsecondary Teacher: $79,540 per the BLS
- Instructional Coordinator: $66,290 per the BLS
- Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal: $96,400 per the BLS
- Training and Development Managers: $113,350 per the BLS
- Postsecondary Education Administrators: $95,410 per the BLS
Apply to a Reading Education and Literacy Program Today!Searching for a degree where you can help others develop the communication skills needed to succeed in modern society? Then a reading education and literacy PhD may be the degree you’re looking for! Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about each school, such as common courses, when the next starting date is, and how to apply.
University of Virginia
University of Washington
Wayne State University
University of Georgia
University of Missouri - Columbia
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University at Buffalo
University of California - Santa Barbara
Florida State University
Texas Tech University
University of Oklahoma
University of Michigan
Old Dominion University