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Reading Specialist Endorsement

Our commitment to justice and the emancipatory power of education and literacies foregrounds our work in preparing practicing teachers to be reading or literacy specialists. The Reading Specialist Endorsement Pathway with Language, Literacies, and Learning MEd covers a broad range of topics to support students in better understanding the multifaceted work of reading specialists—including attention to their work as teachers, coaches, leaders, advocates, and change agents. Toward this end, we prepare teachers for the challenges of working in schools by situating teacher learning inside practice. Our graduates are prepared to:

  • Support children and youth who can find making meaning from text to be challenging at times
  • Teach students to draw from their full range of linguistic and cultural resources as they read, compose, and reason with texts
  • Collaborate with other educators around issues of assessment and instruction
  • Engage in school-level leadership roles
  • Design and facilitate professional development for classroom teachers

Endorsement Requirements Heading link

  • Enrolled in the MEd Language, Literacies, and Learning program
  • Must hold an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL)
  • Two years of full-time teaching experience (before entitlement)
  • Complete an approved K-12 reading specialist preparation program
  • Successfully pass the reading specialist content test (176)
  • Successfully pass a test of basic skills

Endorsement Coursework Heading link

Students following the Reading Specialist Endorsement Pathway follow a course sequence that allows their learning and experience to build across five semesters. Students take a minimum of 8 courses (32 credits) which also fulfill requirements for the MEd Language, Literacies, and Learning degree.

  • Year one focuses on deepening your understanding of literacy as a social practice, augmenting your knowledge of instructional texts, and learning to assess, interpret, and design instruction to meet the needs of literacy learners.
  • Year two aims to broaden your understanding of the role of a reading specialist. You’ll choose from electives about supporting English learners or understanding literacies and language in and out of school settings, develop leadership and coaching practices, and deepen your understanding of literacy research while simultaneously designing and conducting your own action-based research.

Many of our students also choose to take additional courses to earn the Illinois ESL-Bilingual Endorsement.

For questions about the endorsement, contact Mary Rose O’Shea, program assistant for Language, Literacies & Learning at