Study Format

  • Online
  • On Campus

Program Length

  • 30 Credit Hours
  • 24 Months

Application Deadlines

Aug, 19

Domestic Students

Fall 2020 Completed File Due. Classes start August 24, 2020.

Jul, 06

International Students

Fall 2020 Completed File Due. Classes start August 24, 2020.


Concordia University Chicago’s Master of Arts in reading education program provides a theoretical and practical framework for literacy instruction and assessment within an emphasis on current research. The program also provides candidates the opportunity to receive a rigorous, high quality educational program that encourages the development of skills and competencies that will be needed throughout the candidates’ professional career as a reading specialist or literacy coach. 

Credentialing Requirements 

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the Illinois 221 Reading Specialist Test, candidates are eligible for the Illinois Reading Specialist* credential, enabling them to work in a reading professional role in early childhood, elementary, middle, and/or secondary Illinois school settings.

*The Illinois Reading Specialist credential requires Illinois licensure (PEL). Students with out-of-state licensure are welcome to enroll in the Reading Education program, but are not eligible for the Illinois Reading Specialist credential. Questions regarding reciprocity by state should be directed toward the student’s state of licensure, or ISBE.net (Illinois State Board of Education).

To be eligible for the Illinois Reading Specialist credential, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a valid Illinois PEL prior to entering program
  • Complete the Master of Arts in Reading coursework
  • Pass all State of Illinois examinations
  • Have successfully completed two years of lead teaching experience

Program Requirements

Candidates are required to complete an eight-course program of study with embedded field work in reading for a total of 30 graduate credit hours, including practicum experiences at both the elementary and intermediate/upper level as well as the capstone experience.

Learning Competencies

  • Understand the principles, practices and problems in public and private school programs with an emphasis on application of current theory and research in reading education.
  • Interpret the historical development of reading education in America, utilizing contemporary curriculum organization models and pertinent research.
  • Analyze contemporary reading and instruction issues in the United States, including the obstacles and challenges faced by educators and current educational policy-making and reform.
  • Synthesize reading curriculum, teaching and pedagogy into effective teacher leadership in classrooms and beyond.
  • Create appropriate strategies for improved teacher practice and successful learning outcomes.
  • Develop the professional habit and responsibility for reflective practice, both in general classroom pedagogy and in the specific learning perspectives of individual students. 

Program Objectives

This program will enable candidates to:

  • Strengthen their foundational knowledge of reading and writing processes.
  • Apply varied instructional practices, methods, and curriculum materials to literacy instruction.
  • Use assessment to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction.
  • Create literate environments that foster literacy instruction.
  • View professional development in reading as a career-long effort.
  • Engage students in a curriculum that places value on the diversity that exists in our society, as featured in elements such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, and language. 

Program Information

Core Courses (30 hours)

Beginning Reading Instruction (3 hours)

This course examines the factors involved in the beginning literacy processes. The focus is on current theory and research relating to issues in literacy in grades K-3. Candidates will administer and interpret appropriate assessments and plan effective intervention lesson(s) for students who struggle in reading. Field Experience Hours: 7 hours. Field Setting: Public educational setting for classroom observation and work with K-1 student required.

Foundations of Language and Reading Theory (3 hours)

This course will deepen understanding of reading research and language acquisition factors that influence the reading and writing processes. Candidates will also explore historical influences on literacy research and practice, examining literature in sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, educational learning theory, and literacy research. Field experience hours: None. Field Setting: None.

Studies in Literacy and Multiliteracies (3 hours)

Examines the correlates of effective literacy instruction. Emphasis on application of current theory and research in literacy and multiliteracies as they apply to P-12 classrooms. Field experience hours: 1. Field setting: School, library or other location where a short lesson can be taught.

Content Reading: Middle and Secondary Schools (3 hours)

This graduate reading course emphasizes the development of competence as a literacy coach/leader in a middle or secondary setting. Integrity is fostered through attention to the diversity of learners in their various educational settings. Leadership and collaborative relationships are fostered through various experiences with middle and secondary content area teachers, cohort peers, and literacy professionals. Candidates are expected to participate in field experiences outside of course online or class hours, which include conducting interviews with teachers, teaching a lesson, and conferencing with teachers. Field Experience Hours: 5 hours. Field Setting: Candidate arranged work with middle/secondary teacher required.

Assessment of Reading with Remedial Materials and Resources (6 hours)

This is a graduate-level course series which explores the causes and types of reading difficulties, procedures for assessing the struggling reader, and experiences in administering and interpreting standardized and informal tests. The course also attends to current research relating to common reading problems and their correction. Field Experience Hours: 15 hours. Field Setting: Public educational setting and work with primary and intermediate/upper students required.

Roles, Relationships, and Ethics of the Reading Professional (3 hours)

In this course, the role of the reading professional in program development, implementation, supervision and assessment is explored from an ethical perspective. Adult learning theory, professional development and program evaluation are also investigated. Field Experience Hours: 10 hours. Field Setting: Candidates arrange to work with teacher and need access to school data and resources.

Reading Practicum Using Developmental Instruction and Support (6 hours)

This course emphasizes the application of assessment and remedial techniques in a supervised, clinical situation for K-12 levels. It is the culminating experience for implementing data-driven instruction and the reporting of student progress. The M.A. Reading Program Capstone is embedded in this course. Prerequisites as outlined by program template or permission granted by department chair. Field Experience Hours: 20. Field Setting: Candidate-arranged or course-embedded work with elementary and intermediate/secondary students is required.

Research in Children’s Literature (3 hours)

This course critically examines issues and trends in children's literature, including using it as a basis for the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity. Candidates learn action research principles and apply them in conducting an in-depth study of research highlighting implications for instruction. Field experience hours: None. Field Setting: None.

Capstone Experience

Embedded in clinical experience.

Seminar in Higher Education (EDU 6015)

In addition to the base program curriculum, international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus are required to take the Seminar in Higher Education, a 3-credit course.

Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to the U.S.-based higher education learning environment. Students will work to understand Concordia University Chicago’s academic conventions, technological systems and communication culture while developing English grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

The Seminar in Higher Education is an excellent opportunity for students to further develop critical skills to help them to be successful in their academic program. This 3-credit course is mandatory for international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus. 

Course Objectives

  • Developing knowledge about local and academic culture
  • Building grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
  • Conducting graduate-level research with the use of electronic and library resources
  • Developing note-taking strategies for coursework
  • Reflecting on the U.S.-based education system

Academic support for work in students’ current coursework will also be provided during or after class. Guest speakers include representatives from the campus library, writing center and technology services.

Student feedback for the Seminar in Higher Education

  • After taking the Seminar, I have the ability to perform more professionally in my assignments.

  • The instructor was very dynamic and a good listener. He gave feedback and made sure all the students understood.

  • The hands-on activities after the lessons helped my learning experience.

  • The professor truly cares for the students. He helps students individually and encourages us to support our peers.


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