Department of Teaching and Learning

Literacy Education

Literacy Education, M.A.

Program Director: Kay Stahl

Contact Info: East Building, Room 215

Phone: 212 998 5460

The Department of Teaching and Learning offers master's degrees in Literacy Education: Birth through Grade 6 and Grades 5 through 12. These programs provide certified classroom teachers with the opportunity to earn the New York State Literacy Specialist Certificate. These curricula are designed to prepare classroom teachers at the early childhood, elementary levels, or content area teachers at middle school and high school levels to address the needs of all their students by integrating strategic teaching of reading and writing throughout their speciality. The program also focuses on the role of the literacy specialist in the whole-school context and assists each student in developing the competence and the confidence needed to assume such a role. Full-time students can finish in two years.

Program Philosophy

The literacy master's programs represent literacy as the means by which people think, learn, and communicate through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The curricula are designed to help teachers understand the principles of language and literacy learning and the development of diverse learners, especially those who are experiencing difficulty with literacy learning, across developmental levels, academic disciplines, and social and cultural contexts. These programs support the development of teaching expertise in the role of literacy specialist and in a particular area of specialization within the curriculum selected by students. For example, the integration of strategic teaching of reading and writing within different content areas (e.g., social studies, science, or math) or clinical work in literacy could be areas of specialization. The course of study builds on the participants' professional experiences, involves the application of theory to practice and vice versa, and stresses the use of data for decision making. Similarly the curriculum for children in schools builds on the language and literacy learning which students bring to school and ongoing observation of their learning in order to closely match instruction to student level in order to assist them in achieving system standards. Finally, two practicums at two different age levels within each program and a course which focuses on the responsibilities of literacy specialists allow the candidates to experience leadership and teaching responsibilities of role of the literacy specialist.

Field Requirements

The Literacy M.A. program curriculum requires sustained involvement in the field. Most of the coursework involves some level of fieldwork, and each student must have access to a classroom. Students who are practicing teachers will in most cases be able to utilize their own classroom for assignments. Students who are not practicing teachers and do not have access to the classroom can make a placement request through the Field Activities Office in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Literacy Education, Birth-Grade 6 (LITC) (34 credits)

The Program is offered in two phases.

Literacy Education, Grades 5-12 (LITC) (34 credits)

The courses are offered in two phases.

Career Opportunities

The graduates of this program will qualify for literacy specialist positions. Those graduating from the LITB program work in early childhood, preschool, private, and public schools through grade 6 either as teachers with special expertise teaching in reading and writing or as literacy specialists. Those graduating from the LITC program work at the middle school or high school levels as teachers in particular content area with special expertise in integrating the teaching of language and literacy into their curricula or as literacy specialists.

Graduates will also be qualified to work in after-school programs, clinical settings in hospitals and community centers, new educational companies that focus on literacy learning, and in private tutoring practice. In addition, this degree provides excellent background for positions in the educational publishing industry that concentrates on the development of literacy materials and literacy assessment.