Leadership in Teaching: Reading Specialist



The Master of Arts in Leadership in Teaching: Reading Specialist is designed for elementary and secondary certified teachers who want to expand their professional literacy knowledge and practices to become literacy leaders in K-12 settings. Coursework and practicum experiences prepare the candidates to provide instruction for large and small groups as well as individual students, especially those who struggle with reading at grade level. The candidates also examine the research and engage in the practices of coaching faculty members and facilitating professional development. The Reading Specialist Program is guided by the Standards for Professionals of the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the Conceptual Framework (RSVP) of Notre Dame of Maryland University’s School of Education. Learning to read, write, listen, speak, and think are integral to a student’s education; the Literacy Specialists/Coaches are the school leaders who support literacy learning and growth for both students and their teachers. The program is approved by MSDE for the Reading Specialist certification.

Teacher kneeling next to a student reading

Program Options

The Reading Specialist program has two distinct options depending on where you are at in your teaching career:

  • MA in Leadership in Teaching for experienced teachers who already hold a K-12 state certification
  • Post-Master's Certification for certified teachers who already hold a master's degree


Master's Degree

Required Courses

EDU 557 - Leadership Seminar I (3)
EDU 567 - Learning Theory and Practice (3)
EDU 543 - Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Educational Research (3)
EDU 556 - Technology for Instruction and Management (3)
EDU 584 - Teaching Writing in Elementary and Middle Schools (3)
EDU 586 - Techniques of Teaching Reading and Writing to Students with Limited English Proficiency (3)
EDU 612 - Literacy Intervention for Classroom and Clinical Settings (3)
EDU 618 - Roles of the Literacy/Reading Specialist (3)
EDU 629 - The Roles of the Literacy Coach (3)
EDU 691 - Practicum: Literacy Intervention in a Clinical Setting (3)
EDU 542 - Instruction in Reading (required for secondary teachers) (3) OR
EDU 551 - Teaching Reading and Writing in Content Area II (required for elementary teachers) (3)
Electives (3 Credits)

Total Credits: 36



EDU 509 - Processes and Acquisition of Reading (3)
EDU 510 - Elementary Reading Materials (3)
EDU 511 - Assessment of Reading (3)
EDU 542 - Instruction of reading (3)


EDU 580 - Teaching Reading and Writing in Content Areas I (3)
EDU 551 - Teaching Reading and Writing in Content Areas II (3)

Post-Master's Certification

Required Courses

EDU 586 - Techniques of Teaching Reading and Writing to Students with Limited English Proficiency (3)
EDU 612 - Remedial Reading Instruction for Classroom and Clinical Settings (3)
EDU 551 - Reading and Writing in the Content Areas II (for elementary teachers) (3) OR
EDU 542 - Instruction of Reading (for secondary teachers) (3)
EDU 629 - The Roles of the Literacy Coach (3)
EDU 618 - Resource Role of the Reading Specialist (3)
EDU 691 - Practicum:  Application of Remediation (3)

Total Credits: 18



EDU 509 - Processes and Acquisition of Reading
EDU 510 - Elementary Reading Materials
EDU 511 - Assessment of Reading
EDU 542 - Instruction in Reading


EDU 580 - Teaching Reading and Writing in Content Areas I (3)
EDU 551 - Teaching Reading and Writing in Content Areas II (3)


Student Outcomes

As a student in this program, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively within a literacy team to create a comprehensive mission, vision, and action plan for a whole school, whole community within a multiple year literacy plan.
  2. Exhibit the important skills of a literacy coach that include knowledge of literacy theory, content subject information, culturally relevant instructional practices, and understanding the importance of building relationships.
  3. Use varied and appropriate instruments for literacy assessment in a manner that includes both analysis of data and synthesis of results; together this combination leads to differentiated plans for culturally relevant instruction.
  4. Establish a view of professional development that includes current theory and practice within a model of choice, interaction, varied group size, and a view of literacy that includes reading, writing, listening, speaking, and thinking.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of the program, you will be able to:

  1. Pass the PRAXIS for Reading Specialist, achieving a 100% rate at the NDMU designated passing score.
  2. Assume literacy leadership positions within current teaching placements and/or seek new positions as literacy specialists or literacy coaches.
  3. Embrace professionalism by continuing membership and leadership in local, regional, and national literacy organizations (ILA, NCTE, SoMLA).
  4. Maintain the belief systems that are founded in the ILA Standards for Reading Professionals (2017) and the NDMU School of Education’s RSVP Conceptual Framework—Research, Self-Reflection, Vocation, and Practice.

What to Expect Studying at Notre Dame of Maryland University

With award-winning teacher certification programs nationally recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, you can expect to benefit from small class sizes, expert faculty, and practical field experiences.

Flexible Class Schedules

Work with an advisor to develop a personalized program plan: 

  • Courses offered in the evenings at times convenient for working adults.
  • Occasional courses available on Saturdays or online.
Patricia Shoults
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A Teacher of Teachers

Alum Leadership in Teaching: Reading Specialist

I had never thought about being anything but a classroom teacher; yet after years of experience, I considered becoming a reading specialist. This led me to Notre Dame’s Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach Program, where I learned that I could also be a teacher of teachers. Reaching teachers is reaching students, and isn’t that why we all entered this profession?

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Education Careers

Notre Dame is one of the state’s largest and most significant private providers of teacher education.

Graduates of our program attain positions as a Literacy Specialist/Coach in area school districts.

See Our Award-Winning Teachers