Literacy Specialist

The College of Education is revising the Literacy (Reading Specialist) endorsement program and is not currently accepting applications. If you are interested in receiving information regarding this program including updates and future plans, please contact Graduate Admissions at 540-286-8030 or via email at to join our mailing list.


The Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree for Professional Development or Added Endorsement is offered for practicing teachers who already possess initial licensure and is designed to provide opportunities for continuing professional development, master’s level licensure for teachers and other school personnel, or endorsements in teaching or administration. Students in these programs must possess a collegiate professional or postgraduate professional Virginia license.

This program leads to a reading specialist endorsement and prepares teachers to take a reading specialist position in a school or district. The courses are designed to prepare reading/literacy specialists in the areas of foundational knowledge, instructional strategies and curriculum development, assessment and intervention, literacy in communication, and literacy leadership. The program supports local school districts and the Virginia Department of Education in improving reading performance through highly qualified reading professionals, as well as addressing the teacher shortage in the area of reading  specialist. A passing score on the Reading for Virginia Educators: Reading Specialist assessment is required for endorsement.

Admission Requirements
1. Three years of experience as a licensed teacher;
2. Submit a completed application for admission;
3. Submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work;
4. Have earned an undergraduate degree from a regionally-accredited college or university;
5. Have a GPA of 2.5 or higher on undergraduate course work and 3.0 or higher on graduate course work;
6. Provide a résumé outlining work experience and education;
7. Provide verification of the collegiate professional or postgraduate professional license;
8. Submit two essays.

An interview, initiated by the Admissions Committee, may be required as part of the admission process.

Program Course Sequence

Required Graduate Courses:

  • EDLS 540 Psychology of Literacy (3 credits)
  • EDLS 541 Linguistic Foundations of Literacy (3 credits)*
  • EDLS 542 Literacy Curriculum and Instruction I: Emergent-Elementary (3 credits)*
  • EDLS 543 Literacy Curriculum and Instruction II: Adolescent (3 credits)*
  • EDLS 544 Literacy Assessment and Evaluation (3 credits)*
  • EDLS 545 Writing Process and Instruction (3 credits)*
  • EDLS 546 Leadership in Literacy Education (3 credits)*
  • EDLS 547 Literacy and Diverse Student Populations (3 credits)*
  • EDLS 548 Internship: Applied Literacy Research (3 credits)*
  • EDCI 546 Evaluation for Instructional Improvement (3 credits)
  • EDCI 590 Individual Research (3 credits)
  • INDT 501 Instructional Technologies (3 credits)

*Required courses for students who possess a master’s degree and wish to only pursue the Reading Specialist endorsement. This endorsement pathway provides teachers with the knowledge to become leaders in the area of literacy instruction and leads to the reading specialist endorsement. It is offered for prospective students who possess a master’s degree and a valid Virginia postgraduate professional license. Admission, continuance, and exit requirements are the same as those for the M.Ed. in Literacy. Courses taken at other institutions and approved for the endorsement pathway must be officially transferred into the program. Application for the added endorsement is made through the school division’s personnel office. A passing score on the Reading for Virginia Educators: Reading Specialist assessment is required for endorsement.

Documents, Deadlines & Policies

Graduate Admissions


Program Policies: Graduate Program Catalog

Questions about the program, contact:

Dr. April Brecht
Director of Advising Center Services
Phone: (540) 286-8032

Dr. Jane Huffman
Program Director for Advanced and Non-Degree Programs
Phone: (540) 654-1142