Teachers who are considering becoming reading specialists can benefit from information about the career, as well as the master's degree in reading education that is needed to get a job in the field.
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Reading Specialist Career Information
Reading specialists complete specialized training in reading instruction and use their training to help improve reading instruction in classrooms. Some reading specialists can also serve as advisors to school administrators about literacy programs for schools or districts. They are often considered special education teachers and need to possess the ability to develop and enact individualized education programs that are tailored to fit a student's individual needs.
Typical work settings for reading specialists include public or private early childhood schools through secondary schools, as well as reading resource centers. Within some school districts, reading specialists work at more than one school. They usually work one-on-one with students who have particular needs, such as:
- Students who have difficulty with reading
- Gifted students who need individual time and attention in order to be challenged
- English language learners
- Students with dyslexia
In addition to providing direct instruction, reading specialists may be involved in reading curriculum development. For instance, they may find out about the latest trends in the field and figure out how to apply them in the classroom. Based on their reading expertise, they may also coach regular classroom teachers on how to provide more effective reading instruction.
There are both full-time and part-time jobs available for reading specialists. As of March 2017, the median annual salary for these professionals was $49,550, according to Payscale.com.
A master's degree in reading education typically involves completing 30 to 36 credits, and some special education master's degree programs offer reading specialist concentrations. These degree programs are open to current certified teachers and those who have a bachelor's degree in education. Graduates will understand the techniques involved in identifying reading and writing difficulties, and supporting students as they learn.
In their classes, aspiring reading specialists learn about strategies for working with a diverse student body and with young students who have difficulty reading. Programs typically require a practicum that allows reading education students to apply their knowledge and skills in school settings.
Some specific courses in this field can include:
- Young adult literature
- Assessment of reading disabilities
- Language disorders
- Multicultural children's literature
To summarize, reading specialists are involved in reading curriculum design and implementation. In the master's degree programs that provide job training, students take reading-focused classes and gain classroom experience.