Advisor: Theresa Deeney
The graduate Reading Program prepares classroom teachers to meet the International Reading Association's (IRA) Standards for Reading Professionals (Revised, 2003) at the reading specialist/literacy coach level, and the requirements for Rhode Island certification as reading specialists/consultant. Admission to the program is competitive. All students are expected to complete approximately 31 credits of coursework depending upon experience and transfer credits.
Course of Study
Coursework consists of three strands, Developing Knowledge, Developing Expertise, and Developing Professionalism, with specific courses and outcomes tied to each. The graduate reading program ensures a core base of knowledge upon entrance into the program through pre-program requirements, and an exiting base of knowledge through candidates’ successful completion of specific tasks and a written comprehensive examination or master's thesis.
Candidates in the Reading program must adhere to a specific schedule of courses (based on admission date) to ensure that they meet prerequisites for each required course. Courses are offered during the summer months as well as the regular school year. Virtually all students take courses on a part-time basis in addition to their full-time duties as classroom teachers.
Goals of the Reading Program:
The graduate program in reading is designed to help teachers acquire knowledge in the multifaceted arenas of literacy research and instruction. It seeks to educate its teachers to think critically about research and practice, to base instructional decisions upon student needs, and to understand student needs through more than one lens. The program promotes a deeply held belief that teaching is reflective. Through reflection on theory, research, and practice, the program seeks to develop competent reading professionals who understand literacy theory and research, how these inform literacy assessment and instruction, and how to use knowledge of theory, research, assessment, and instruction to design appropriate literacy programs for all students. Specific goals are to:
1. encourage reflection on literacy theory, research, and practice.
2. ensure that candidates have both historical and current knowledge of theory, research, and practice in the processes of reading, writing, speaking, and listening (IRA Standard 1).
3. help candidates use their knowledge of literacy and learning processes to develop creative, interactive, balanced literacy instruction across all grade levels and content areas (IRA Standards 2, 4).
4. expand candidates’ awareness of each learner as a distinct individual, and help them gain the instructional flexibility to support cognitive, socio-cultural, and linguistic diversity within the classroom and school (IRA Standards 1, 2, 4).
5. foster candidates’ ability to assess the literacy needs of all students, to use these assessments to design and provide appropriate instruction for each student, and to interpret and present individual, school, and district-wide assessment data in various professional contexts (IRA Standard 3).
6. guide candidates through experiences that develop expertise in working with colleagues and parents, and collaborating, coaching, and/or supervising teachers and paraprofessionals (all IRA Standards).
7. ensure that candidates gain the knowledge and experience to achieve the Standards for Reading Professionals (2003) as set forth by the International Reading Association.
8. ensure that candidates gain the knowledge and experience to obtain certification as Reading Specialist/Consultant in the State of Rhode Island or similar certification in other states across the country.