Illinois PhD & Master's in Literacy & Reading Education Graduate Programs
Graduate Programs in Literacy & Reading: Overview
Literacy graduate programs help current and future teachers prepare for the challenges of teaching literacy. Students may study modern practices and techniques in teaching reading, writing and critical thinking to students at all levels. They may also conduct research into literacy discrepancies, teaching methods and more.
Many literacy education programs also aim to help prepare graduates for further literacy specialist endorsements and other certifications. However certification requirements vary by state, so be sure to do your research to ensure you reading specialist degree meets your needs!
Why Earn a Reading Specialist Degree?
There may be a few amazing reasons to think about earning your graduate literacy specialist degree. Perhaps one of the following applies to you!
- You’re a teacher preparing for certification i– Whether you’re a new or experienced teacher, you may have to pursue continued education or even a master’s degree in order to earn or maintain certification. Plus, teachers may have to pass a content area test in order to gain further endorsements. Literacy graduate programs may be a great way to pursue professional development in an area you’re passionate about! And if you’re wondering how to become a literacy specialist, learning more about related graduate programs may be a perfect next step.
- You hope to pursue a new career path – Some education career opportunities may call for additional preparation. For example, instructional coordinators may need to earn a masters degree in the subject area they plan to specialize in. iii And adult literacy instructors may take professional development courses to help prepare for new challenges in helping their students improve reading skills. iv So, if you have set your sights on a potential new role, learn if literacy graduate programs might help.
- You’re passionate about teaching literacy – Graduate literacy education programs may allow you to explore literacy from many perspectives: cultural, historical, linguistic, and beyond. You could potentially learn about the role literacy plays in diverse communities, and how different kinds of learners attain reading skills. Plus, you may be able to conduct research into reading and literacy, or even discover new ways to make a difference.
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Champaign-Urbana, IL||$60,710||Not Reported|
Types of Literacy Graduate Programs
Depending on your goals, you may be able to pursue literacy specialist programs at the masters, doctoral, or certificate level. Each may have a slightly different focus, as well as requirements and goals. Below is a bit about each type to help get you started.
Popular Schools with Reading & Literacy Degrees in Illinois
Masters in Reading Programs
Masters in literacy programs are often aimed at current teachers looking to add on an additional endorsement and enhance their career. In fact, earning a masters degree may be required or recommended for education professionals; 19% of elementary school teachers said they needed to earn a masters for their current rolev, as did 73% of instructional coordinators.vi
Students may study how to plan and implement curriculum that teaches reading skills, diagnose and help children overcome reading disabilities, and promote reading practices throughout a school. Courses may also cover theoretical foundations and frameworks, as well as historical, cultural and economic trends and influences on literacy.
Additional topics you could study in literacy masters programs are listed below.
- Learning Theory
- Reading and Language Acquisition
- Curriculum Development
- Distance Learning & Children’s Literature
- Reading and Language Disabilities
In addition to classroom study, many masters in reading education programs include a practicum requirement. Here students may practice teaching and apply their new techniques in a classroom.
Masters degrees in reading may be offered as an MS.Ed., MAT, MA or MEd degrees, just to name a few. They may also vary in the type of education they choose to focus on, though K-12 Education is a popular option.
One final thing to keep in mind when selecting a program is whether you will be seeking a reading specialist endorsement. Many literacy masters programs design their curriculum to meet state standards and prepare graduates for exams. However, requirements vary by state so it is important to ensure your program matches your needs.
Contact individual masters in literacy programs for details.
Reading Specialist Certification or Certificate Programs
Reading specialist certificate programs are shorter, non degree programs often focused on helping current licensed teachers complete the requirements for certification. They may also be available for individuals who simply want to improve their ability to teach literacy and reading.
Some courses that may be offered in a certificate program include:
- Writing in the Classroom
- Psychology of Literacy
- Literacy Assessment and Instruction
- Struggling Readers and Writers
- Leadership for Reading Educators
As courses are typically offered at the masters level, a Certificate in Literacy Education may be later applied to a Masters in Reading degree. A certificate may also be earned in conjunction with a different masters program to allow students to pursue a specialization. However credits are not always transferable, so it's best to talk to schools before applying.
Keep in mind that some programs may have prerequisites, such as holding a masters degree or state teaching license. Read program listings carefully and contact schools for details.
Doctorate in Literacy Education Programs
A doctorate in literacy degree, such as an Ed.D or PhD, may be a perfect choice for those interested in teaching at the university level or holding leadership roles. Literacy PhD programs may be research-intensive, and could focus on working toward new solutions for educational issues. You might study theories, practices, and policies related to reading curriculum and instruction, as well as emerging areas in the study of literacy.
Here is a sampling of potential courses you might find in Ed.D. or PhD reading programs.
- Educational research and social policy>
- Quantitative research methods
- Literacy theory, research, and practice
- Evaluation methods for educational programs
- Literacy trends and research methodologies
In addition to classroom study, many PhD in Literacy programs have a research or dissertation requirement. In an EdD program, this may be more practical in nature and focus on applying new findings in the field.
In either case, students may have the opportunity to conduct their own research into an area of interest. They may then present and defend their findings. Contact preferred reading literacy programs to learn more.
Ways to Earn a Degree in Reading
Once you’ve chosen the reading specialist degree level that matches for your interests and goals, you’ll still need to decide whether you wish to learn on campus, online, or in a hybrid format.
Literacy Specialist Schools– The traditional way of pursuing graduate education, a campus-based literacy specialist program may be perfect for those who prefer face-to-face classroom learning. Potential benefits include observing your instructors’ teaching strategies firsthand, taking part in campus activities, and being part of a cohort of students who are passionate about literacy education.
Online Literacy Graduate Programs– Online reading programs may be great for those with busy schedules, like teachers hoping to continue their career prep while remaining employed. In fact, education programs were among the most popular graduate majors for online students!* You could potentially pursue your coursework at flexible times, avoid a long commute, and try out online learning tools that may inspire future lesson plans!
Keep in mind that some programs may still have in person requirements, such as practicums or short campus residencies. Contact schools to learn more.
Hybrid Reading Literacy Programs – Hybrid or blended literacy programs typically offer some combination of on-campus and online learning. Taking some of your courses online may offer the flexibility you crave, while your in-person courses may offer opportunities to work with like minded peers and get involved in your campus community.
While the above provides a brief overview, every literacy graduate program may be designed a bit differently. Be sure to read descriptions and do your research to ensure you understand what might be required of you.
* Clinefelter, D. L. & Aslanian, C. B., (2016). Online college students 2016: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
Sources: [i]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [ii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-2 | [iii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm#tab-4 | [iv]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [v]onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2021.00 | [vi]onetonline.org/link/summary/25-9031.00
Top 27 Graduate Schools with PhD & Master's in Literacy & Reading Education Graduate Programs in Illinois
Walden UniversityMS in Education - Elementary Reading & Literacy (Grades PreK-6) MS in Education - Elementary Reading & Mathematics (Grades K-6) PhD in Education - Reading, Literacy, Assessment & Evaluation Doctor of Education (EdD) - Reading, Literacy & Assessment
National Louis UniversityDoctor of Education in Reading and Language (Ed.D.)
Lewis UniversityReading and Literacy
Loyola University ChicagoMaster of Education in Reading with Reading Specialist Endorsement Reading Teacher Endorsement
Plymouth State UniversityMaster of Education in Reading & Writing
DePaul UniversityLanguage Literacy/Specialized Instruction
Northeastern Illinois UniversityReading Teacher Endorsement Program: Elementary Level Master of Arts in Literacy Education Master of Arts in Teaching: Language Arts - Elementary
Illinois State UniversityReading
Northern Illinois UniversityReading
Bradley UniversityCurriculum and Instruction
Chicago State UniversityTeaching of Reading
Western Illinois UniversityReading Language Literacy