Online Masters Degree in Literacy Teaching: Program Overview

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in literacy teaching are commonly offered online. They are designed for students who already hold a teaching certificate with an undergraduate degree and desire to specialize in teaching reading and writing skills.

Many of these programs use a hybrid form where the majority of courses can be completed online, but some need to be completed on campus. Some programs incorporate student conferences and peer editing sessions online. Most programs include a practicum of working with students in a real classroom.

Earning this certification involves passing the Praxis II Reading Specialist examination. Students who complete an out-of-state online program should check with their state board of education to ensure that the program meets the requirements for reading specialist certification.

For those who desire a fully online program in a related field, a master's degree in curriculum and instruction with a focus on reading is also available.

Master's Degree in Literacy Teaching

Students learn about theories of communication and instructional techniques to promote literacy skills. The program also trains students to assess another person's reading and writing skills in order to determine what instruction is necessary. The degree program is sometimes taken as an area of emphasis in a Master of Education program, and the field can be split up into teaching literacy to grades K-6 or 6-12.

Program Information and Requirements

Online literacy master's degree programs take approximately two years to complete. Since applicants already have an undergraduate and possibly graduate degree in education, the program has no general education requirements. The core curriculum is usually around 30-40 credit-hours depending on the program.

Literacy Teaching Master's-Level Courses

Students are provided fundamental leadership and instruction skills in various core teaching courses. In addition, specific literacy instruction courses are incorporated, covering topics like those listed below.

Reading and Language Disabilities Assessment

Students gain an understanding of how to recognize the signs of a person who struggles with reading. The online course prepares students to help others develop their abilities in writing, reading, receiving information and verbally communicating ideas.

Reading and Writing Process Instruction

Students learn the theory behind the best instruction process to improve literacy skills. Students develop lesson plans that are designed to test and improve a person's memory, cognition and motivation to read, write and study.

Reading and Language Disabilities Treatment

Students learn how to develop remedial programs for various group and tutoring sessions. The course emphasizes instruction strategies and curriculum development, with attention to maintaining a particular time frame.

Career Information for Graduates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for kindergarten and elementary teachers was expected to increase by 3% from 2018 to 2029 ( According to the BLS, employment for high school teachers was also expected to increase by 4% during the same time period ( The same source attributed the rising job prospects to greater enrollments and lower student-teacher ratios. In 2018, the BLS noted that the average salary for kindergarten teachers was $58,370; $62,200 for elementary teachers; $62,030 for middle school teachers; and $64,340 for high school teachers.

Continuing Education Information

For those who wish to pursue further education, there are advanced graduate certificate and doctoral degree programs available in education and literacy. One example of a degree program is a Doctor of Philosophy in Literacy Education, which can be taken online as well as entirely on campus. In addition, there are doctoral degree programs with an education emphasis that incorporate literacy instruction into the curriculum.

Online master's degree programs in literacy teaching are available mostly in a blended format. These programs train students to help another person improve their reading and writing skills in a public education setting.

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