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Reading Specialist Certification

without Master of Education

27 credits
All courses are three-credit courses.

Entry-level Course

  • EDG 522 Creating a Community of Readers  

Mid-level Courses 

  • EDG 530 - Instructional Strategies for Teaching Phonics 
  • EDG 541 - Instructional Strategies for Teaching Reading 
  • EDG 542 - Learners at Risk: Diagnostic Practicum I
  • EDG 590 - Communication Arts in Secondary Content
  • EDG 549 - Teaching of Writing
  • EDG 615 - Internship in Literacy

Culminating Courses 

  • EDG 595 - Leadership for Literacy Learning 
  • EDG 593 - Growth through Community: Diagnostic Practicum II

An exit portfolio is required. 

Students without a year of teaching may have additional requirements.

To complete a Master of Education with Reading Specialist Certification:

  • EDG 598 - Foundations in Literacy
  • EDG 521 - Education and Social Policy
  • EDG 501 - Educational Research

For more information, contact graduate@cabrini.edu.


PA Reading-Specialist Standards

The Pennsylvania Department of Education outlines specific standards for Reading Specialist, K-12 Certification.

I. Knowing the Content 
The professional education program provides evidence that Reading Specialist certification candidates complete a program of studies in reading the same as the academic content area courses and required electives of a major in a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The program requires certification candidates to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental concepts of reading and competence in teaching K-12 students reading including:

I.A. Historical perspective, methodologies and theories of language and reading acquisition and development including:

  • literacy at all levels, preschool through adults, and across all content areas
  • emergent literacy and the experiences and environments that support it
  • process reading and writing
  • developmental spelling and the ability to abstract phonetic information from letter names
  • causes and characteristics of reading and writing difficulties
  • alignment of the various goals, standards, instruction and assessment
  • variety of goals, standards, instruction and assessment

I.B. Phonemic, morphemic, semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic systems of language and their relation to the reading and writing processes including:

  • the interrelationship of reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • the role of metacognition in reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • linguistic differences and styles of language use as they relate to the sociocultural environment

I.C. Classic and contemporary literature, textbooks, and curriculum materials that are appropriate for various age levels and mediums

II. Performances 
The professional education program provides evidence of the candidates participation in sequential and developmental field experiences and student teaching, under the supervision of college personnel and cooperating teachers who are well trained, have interpersonal skills, and demonstrated competence in teaching.

Candidates that possess an initial Instructional certificate shall be required to participate in an internship for a minimum of 100 hours in lieu of student teaching.

The program also provides evidence that the criteria and competencies for exit from the Reading Specialist program are assessed during the field experiences and student teaching and require the candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and competence in fostering student learning through:

II.A. Managing the instructional environment including:

  • creating a literate environment that fosters interest and growth in all aspects of literacy
  • establishing and maintaining rapport with all students
  • communicating high learning expectations to all students
  • establishing and maintaining fair and consistent standards of classroom behavior
  • creating a safe physical environment that is conducive to learning

II.B. Planning of instruction in collaboration with other professionals at a variety of instructional levels based upon:

  • Pennsylvania Academic Standards
  • addressing reading as the process of constructing meaning through the interaction of the reader’s existing knowledge, the information suggested by the written language, and the content of the reading situation
  • addressing the strengths and needs of learners at all proficiency levels in reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • techniques, strategies for vocabulary acquisition and comprehension, including self-monitoring
  • word identification and definition through the use of syntactic, semantic, and graphophonemic cues and context
  • students’ knowledge of letter/sound correspondence (phonics) in the construction of meaning
  • students’ refinement of their spelling knowledge through reading and writing
  • spelling patterns in the English language, as an aid to word identification
  • students development of strategies for effective writing

II.C. Selecting, implementing and adapting effective instructional strategies, curriculum resources and technologies in collaboration with other educators to meet the needs of diverse learners including:

  • identifying a variety of genres to motivate students to appreciate reading/literature
  • evaluating materials for literacy instruction
  • using texts, trade books and technology to increase interest, appreciation, motivation and growth in reading and writing
  • providing opportunities for learners to select from a variety of written materials, to read for many purposes and to read extended texts
  • varying reading rate according to the difficulty of the materials and purpose(s) for reading

  • providing opportunities for creative and personal responses to literature

II.D. Selecting, developing and administering assessments that involve multiple indicators of student progress and maintain records of information including:

  • norm-referenced tests, criterion-referenced tests, formal and informal inventories, constructed response measures, portfolio-based assessments, student self-evaluations, work/performance samples, observations, anecdotal records, journals, and other indicators of student progress
  • communication with students about their strengths, areas needing improvement, and ways to achieve improvement
  • individual educational plans (IEP) for students with severe learning problems related to literacy
  • components and procedures adopted by the Pa. System of School Assessment (PSSA)

III. Professionalism 
The professional education program provides evidence that Reading Specialist certification candidates demonstrate knowledge and competencies that foster professionalism in school and community settings, including:

  • III.A. Reading local, state, national, and international publications and belonging to professional organizations
  • III.B. Collaborating with other educators, allied professionals and the wider community, as well as serving as a resource to teachers, administrators, community, and allied professionals
  • III.C. Communicating with parents to make them effective partners in the literacy development of their children
  • III.D. Integrity and ethical behavior; professional conduct as stated in Pennsylvania’s Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators; and local, state, and federal laws and regulations

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