Becoming a reading specialist

Have you thought about becoming a reading specialist? Here is why they are a crucial part of a students reading journey.

Reading specialists are teachers who have special training in reading and literacy. They serve a critical role in the life of a child. They often work alongside teachers, as well as with small groups of students. Sometimes, they can train teacher aides to offer support alongside classroom teachers. Usually, reading specialists focus on specific reading skills. In it’s basic form, reading specialists might teach reading similar to the traditional classroom, but they might teach at a slower rate.

However, research has proven better methods of teaching literacy. Furthermore, it is critical to understand what factors help determine which students need additional reading support. Modern literacy programs equip teachers with these skills.

Becoming a licensed reading specialist helps elementary teachers

Kristen Braatz, Assistant Director of Graduate Literacy, is passionate about being a reading specialist. Right now, in her work with the graduate literacy program at Concordia, Braatz gets to primarily support teachers. She says, “helping teachers grow in their understanding of how literacy develops and how it is best taught are both vitally important and personally fulfilling.”

Braatz also shared the importance of quality instruction. “Evidenced-based literacy instruction is critical for students to learn and develop the literacy skills they need. This method is based upon empirical research. The skills we teach in literacy underpin the ability to both grow in knowledge and succeed in life.”

“Now, the key to quality literacy instruction is a teacher knowledgeable in the science of reading and the science of teaching reading. As we empower teachers to better understand how literacy develops, students demonstrate the benefits by becoming competent and curious readers.” Furthermore, literacy is an equity issue. It comes with innumerable benefits, including academic success and empowerment. The ability to develop knowledge, make informed decisions, and participate in society.

Additionally, she reminds us that there are several factors that can influence the reading development of a student. Often, these factors include both the home and school environments. “Of course, our most influential factor is the quality of instruction a student receives at school.”

Interested in becoming a reading specialist in Wisconsin?

Concordia University offers a pathway that leads to both the Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist licenses. These programs will enhance your literacy and leadership skills.

How to become a reading teacher or a reading specialist through CUW

First, you need to hold a Wisconsin teaching license and have two years of successful teaching. Then,

  • Earn your Reading Teaching license
    • Allows you to confidently teach reading with an evidence-based approach
    • Only 15 credits – five courses that usually take less than one year to complete
  • Continue to earn your master’s degree in literacy and your Reading Specialist license
    • Only an additional five courses
    • Administrative role managing reading curriculum for reading teachers
    • Includes an internship experience

Our programs are either 100% online or taken through our virtual accelerated format. Typical courses are 8-weeks in duration and are ideal for full-time teachers. Our instructors are licensed Reading Specialist, doctoral experts, and have practical field experience. Connect with us below and get answers to your questions today.

Becoming a reading specialist is a great way to grow your skills and impact children in a critical way.

This blog was originally published on October 7, 2021. It has been updated to reflect current information.