Robert Lopez, 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.