Obtaining a master's degree in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in reading prepares you for two different paths toward career advancement. With this degree, experienced educators are qualified to move into the role of either reading specialist or reading curriculum leader.
The Reading Specialist
The International Reading Association states that "Reading specialists are professionals with advanced preparation and experience in reading who have responsibility for the literacy performance of readers in general and struggling readers in particular."
Reading specialists conduct assessments, provide expert instruction, and are the literacy and schoolwide reading program leaders. They may work with students with various disabilities and educational needs, including students who may have emotional and physical needs not met in their general classroom instruction.
Reading specialists also collaborate with classroom teachers, coaching and mentoring them as well as providing information that will help identify the strengths and needs of their students. Working with parents, special educators, speech teachers, counselors and other faculty, the reading specialist helps create a unified team to provide an effective reading program.
The Curriculum Leader in Literacy Instruction
Reading curriculum leaders must have a strong foundation in curriculum and instruction evaluation, and experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating reading programs. A master's program that is focused on curriculum and instruction with a specialization in reading provides the background and skills required to identify and achieve appropriate goals and objectives for reading and literacy instruction.
Using research-based techniques to evaluate instruction, identify assessment tools, and incorporate models of assessment, curriculum leaders decide on the methods, materials and organization of reading programs.
Working together with teaching staff, curriculum leaders are problem solvers who evaluate and assess materials, activities and techniques with an eye toward adapting to the needs of each student. By providing motivation and vision, working collaboratively with teachers, the curriculum leader supports reading improvement for all students.
In his book Leading Curriculum Development, Jon Wiles begins by saying that "curriculum leadership in schools is pretty much what the individual leader makes it." The better prepared a curriculum leader is to manage existing programs, keep things running smoothly, and identify and respond when change is needed, the more effective the leader will be.
The MS in C&I with a Specialization in Reading From TAMIU
Texas A&M International University offers a fully online master's degree program for professionals who want to become a Reading Specialist or a Reading Curriculum Leader. The MS in C&I with a Specialization in Reading program consists of 11 three-credit courses and can be completed in as few as 12 months. The flexible and convenient online format is ideal for working professionals.
The program covers a variety of reading models emphasizing language and cognition, literacy development, comprehension, motivation and current literacy trends. Students also participate in field classroom-based experiences where they observe and practice interventions for struggling readers.
Sources:Sage Publishing: Defining Effective Curriculum Leadership
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