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Although online literacy teaching programs are not offered at the associate's degree level, students can earn online associate's degrees in education or early childhood education that include training in literacy teaching. Those who wish to specialize may then pursue bachelor's or graduate degrees in literacy development and teaching. Like general education teachers, literacy teachers need to meet specific certification and licensing requirements. While courses can be completed online, some programs do include school visits or practica that provide hands-on experience.
Topics of Study
Online literacy teaching courses at the associate's degree level focus on techniques to teach listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Most courses deal with early development of these skills in young children. Potential teachers might learn to use children's literature to facilitate development.
Student assessment techniques are also covered. In addition to literacy courses, students will generally take a variety of teaching courses to develop the skills necessary to plan lessons, lead a class and assist student development.
Online courses may begin with an introductory session outlining the course content and special instructions for working online. Students complete readings and research assignments and are tested periodically on their progress. Some course materials, including textbooks, may be sent to or purchased by students; other materials are available entirely online. Some distance programs may require students to visit a school and complete a practicum component, which the student may need to videotape for instructor review.
Literacy teachers need to complete a teacher training program, including a one-semester student teaching internship, and pass a licensing exam in order to become certified teachers. State regulations vary, but a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement in all states. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards offers a voluntary certification in literacy for those who pass a written assessment and evaluation.
With an associate's degree, students can expect to find careers as teaching assistants or teacher's aides in preschools, early childhood development centers, special education classes, after-school programs and day cares. They may help with teaching, tutoring individual students, assisting with administrative duties and planning curriculum.
Students who pursue their teaching certification may become teachers in elementary, middle and secondary schools. Those with additional education in literacy might specialize in teaching language arts at the middle and secondary level. Some may choose to pursue a graduate degree in literacy or careers in adult or special needs literacy teaching.
While it is not possible to earn an online associate's degree focused specifically on literacy teaching, there are several education-related programs that can include instruction on the topic. Graduates are prepared for assistant positions in schools, or they can continue on the educational track to obtaining teaching licensure.