Improve outcomes for students struggling with reading

IDA Accredited Plus Program Seal

You can be a leader in the field of educational literacy with Carlow’s Master of Education Reading Specialist degree. The reading specialist certification and MEd programs lead to Pre-K-12 Pennsylvania Department of Education Reading Specialist Certification with a special Carlow dyslexia certificate.

As a reading specialist or literacy coordinator, you’ll learn to provide whole class, small group and tiered intervention support to students in all aspects of literacy instruction. 

Credits required:

25-31 credits

Cost per credit:


Time to degree:

As few as 12 months


On campus or online

Curriculum for MEd Reading Specialist

You’ll study how children learn to read with courses centered on the science of reading and examine different approaches to effective literacy assessment and instruction.

Coursework includes an examination of phonological awareness, the structure of language, teaching writing and digital literacy. The curriculum meets guidelines for the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s framework for the reading specialist, the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Students will benefit from on-site practicums at Carlow’s Campus Laboratory School or regional schools and districts. 

Special workshops and guest speakers are a hallmark of the program through partnerships with Trying Together, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Fred Rogers Institute, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Provident Charter School, PBIDA, Warhol Museum and A+ Schools.

Quick facts

  • Structured literacy and IDA focus
  • Faculty instructors who serve as national LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) trainers
  • Partnerships with regional schools that enhance professional development

Certificate options

Add-on certificate

If you already have a teaching license, you can earn this MEd under our add-on certificate option. When applying, indicate your interest in the add-on certificate option.

Graduate Certificate in Reading Specialist (Pre-K-12)

This program is available as a graduate certificate which leads to an endorsement from PDE for already licensed teachers.

Career opportunities for Reading Specialist

School districts hire reading specialists to coordinate reading programs, support students and teachers, and work with intervention services.

Employment of instructional coordinators is projected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As states and school districts put greater emphasis on student achievement data, schools may increasingly turn to instructional coordinators to develop better curriculums and improve teachers’ effectiveness.

Admission requirements and application process

You can apply for free online, and must submit the following materials:

  • Official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions you have attended
  • Personal essay that describes your academic objectives
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation that address your leadership potential and ability to succeed in graduate-level work


Start terms:

Fall, Spring & Summer

An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred; however, provisional admission is also possible if you do not meet all of the admission criteria but exhibit a strong possibility of academic success. No prerequisites or teacher licensure are required for this degree and certification.

Olivia Miller, ’21, biology major and runner on the track & field/cross country team.

Learn to make a difference

MEd Reading Specialist graduate Alyson Woodall ’21 said Carlow’s Education Program has taught her how to make a difference. “Carlow has always been at the forefront of education by teaching education students the latest strategies and approaches for delivering effective classroom instruction. Carlow is challenging me to be a better teacher by showing me how to use research-based techniques that focus on how the brain learns to read.”

How Technology-Based Assessments Aid Student Learning

While the pandemic put focus on technology in education, tech tools and applications have long been used in the classroom. Now, teachers are using technology to assess students abilities and learning needs.

How Education Leaders Can Improve Diversity in Schools

Education leaders can reinforce the importance of diversity in schools by promoting safe and secure learning environments where students feel valued, staff are heard, and curricula reflects diverse viewpoints.

General Blog
Carlow Today & Tomorrow

Fuel the future you with the latest trends, tips and news around your future aspirations.

New posts weekly!

General Blog
previous arrow
next arrow

Reading Specialist faculty & staff

Contact Admissions

If you are interested in this graduate program, our Admissions team is available to assist you with the next steps, including scheduling an on-campus visit or attending an upcoming event.

Follow us on social media

Follow us and stay up-to-date on events and opportunities to learn more about our program and faculty.

© Copyright 2022 Carlow University. All rights reserved.