2023-2024 Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Reading Specialist, M.A.Ed.

Laurene Hofman, Ed.D., Director
Kathleen Meleskie-Lippert, Ed.D., Coordinator

The Master of Arts in Education: Reading Specialist program is designed to assist practicing teachers in becoming specialists in the area of reading. Through this program they learn how to construct assessment, curriculum, and instructional approaches to improve K-12 reading literacy. Strategies for improving reading comprehension, assessment and diagnosis of reading difficulties, and test analysis/interpretation will be studied. Focus on technology, diverse learning needs, and linguistic differences will be included. Admission to the program requires a valid Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) and two years of classroom teaching experience. Illinois standards currently state that “all professional education and content-area coursework that form part of an application for licensure, endorsement, or approval must be passed with a grade no lower than ‘C-‘.” A minimum 3.0 grade point average is required to complete the program successfully.

Completion of the degree program, which includes four 15-clock hour clinical practicum experiences and a 32-clock hour creative project/practicum, and passing the state’s Reading Specialist test #221, leads to a K-12 Reading Specialist endorsement in Illinois.

A Reading Teacher endorsement may be added to an existing Professional Educator License (PEL) by completing the first 24 hours of the Reading Specialist program (EDUC 773, 774, 775, 776, 777, and 778) and passing the state’s Reading Teacher test #177 or the Reading Specialist test #221.

Candidates who do not already hold an Illinois PEL must attain an Illinois PEL through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) prior to seeking a Reading Specialist or Reading Teacher endorsement.


In order to pass the courses, one must complete all required clinical experience hours (if applicable), as well as the mastery assessment assignment(s) with a grade of 80% or higher. The mastery assessment assignment is linked to course objectives that are aligned with state standards for endorsement, so passing the mastery assessment assignment demonstrates competency and ability to master those objectives.

A minimum 3.0 grade point average is required to complete the program successfully.

32 hours

Program learning objectives are as follows:

  • Foundational Knowledge -The READ candidate will interpret and examine the foundations of reading and writing processes and compare/contrast major theories of research and demonstrate understanding of the role of professional judgement for improving all students’ reading development and achievement.
  • Curriculum and Instruction - The READ candidate will design and implement an integrated, comprehensive curriculum and support teachers in the evaluation of the reading and writing curriculum for all students.
  • Assessment and Evaluation - The READ candidate will select, develop, administer, and interpret assessments and communicate assessment results to a variety of audiences.
  • Diversity - The READ candidate will create and engage students in literacy practices that develop awareness, understanding, respect, and a valuing of differences in our society.
  • Literate Environment -The READ candidate will create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge, employment of instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials and assessments.
  • Professional Learning and Leadership - The READ candidate will construct, defend, and evaluate professional development in reading for classroom teachers and continue to do so as a career-long responsibility.
  • Christ-centered character and ONU mission - Exhibit an increased understanding of human nature and Christian values, with an emphasis on the individual’s ethical and moral responsibilities to his or her teaching field, students, colleagues, and communities.