Reading Specialist

Reading Specialist Master of Education (M.Ed.)

About Reading Specialist

Become a leader in literacy for K-12 students.

Pursue a master of education degree and a reading specialist endorsement on your Pennsylvania teaching certificate at PennWest California. Our long-standing reputation of producing top-quality educators will open doors to rewarding teaching and leadership careers in the role of a reading specialist.

This program is designed with a classroom teacher's schedule in mind. Take all of your reading specialist courses online during the school year, and come to PennWest California's campus in the summer for your clinical reading practicum.

Acquire specialization to advance your career.

  • Gain expertise in literacy instruction, assessment and reading program leadership skills.
  • Learn the theoretical and evidence-based foundations of reading and writing processes.
  • Strengthen your teaching, research and instructional best practices in real-world and clinical settings.
  • Develop a reading specialist portfolio and prepare for the Praxis exam.


Top Accreditation: This  degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


Career Preparation
Hands-on learning through field experiences are embedded within the program's core reading courses. Our capstone clinical practicum experience also provides an intensive opportunity to apply strategies, skills and knowledge to a one-on-one clinical reading experience with school-aged children.

PennWest California offers 15 graduate and 100% global online M.Ed. programs to prepare you for the complex demands of today's education careers.
100 %
All PennWest California reading specialist professors have earned doctoral degrees.
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Degree Benefits

PennWest California's Reading Specialist Program prepares you for a career in literacy and provides you with expertise in the many teaching and leadership roles of the reading specialist.

  • Benefit from the flexibility of online classes.

  • Work with teachers, children and school leaders in a variety of settings.

  • Gain networking, professional growth and community development opportunities.

  • Learn a repertoire of strategies to positively impact the literacy development of K-12 students.

  • Conduct action research in local schools and participate in a one-on-one clinical reading practicum.

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Graduate Outcomes

Graduate with the knowledge and confidence to become an exceptional reading specialist. You will be able to help your teaching colleagues improve the quality of reading instruction for K-12 students, and advise school administrators regarding school-wide and district-wide literacy development programs. You may also tutor students one-on-one if they are having reading difficulties. Most program alumni find jobs in school districts, while others pursue careers in private practice and with community-based literacy programs.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

This 30-credit M.Ed. program offers comprehensive online courses in the theories and applications of literacy development and acquisition. The program culminates in a master's degree and Pennsylvania reading specialist endorsement (upon passing the Pennsylvania Department of Education required Reading Specialist Praxis exam).



Course Credits
RES 800  Methods of Research 3
RSP 700  Foundations of Literacy: Theory and Instruction 3
RSP 702  Literacy Assessment and Instruction 3
RSP 703  Practicum I: Assessment 3
RSP 704  Practicum II: Instruction 3
RSP 705  Psychology of Reading 3
RSP 706  Literacy Leadership 3
RSP 707  Creating and Fostering Literate Environments 3
RSP 708  Literacy Development for English Language Learners 3
RSP 734  Content Area Reading 3
Total 30


Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher (Students with a GPA below 3.00 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Copy of Teaching Certification
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Pending Teaching Certification

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419 

For additional information:
Phone: 724.938.4187

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs

Reading Specialist Certificate
A non-degree advanced certificate program that prepares students to obtain Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) certification as a reading specialist (upon passing the required Reading Specialist Praxis exam).


Career at a Glance

Meet Ashley Baird Roth '10, '12. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a reading specialist master's degree from PennWest California, Ashley went on to become the director of The Village Early Childhood Education Center in California, Pennsylvania, where she oversees nationally accredited childcare programs. Ashley also shares her expertise as an adjunct professor in PennWest California's Childhood Education Department.


Face-to-Face Clinical Reading Practicum

One of the most distinctive and rewarding program offerings for PennWest California reading specialist students is the summer reading clinical practicum. In this program candidates work one-on-one with a school-aged child for five-and-a-half weeks. Reading specialist candidates conduct and analyze an array of in-depth, diagnostic literacy assessments and implement targeted intervention and enrichment lessons to foster strategic thinking and an interest in reading and writing. 


Helping Teachers Create Positive Change

 PennWest California's reading specialist program prepares reading specialists to provide: instruction to K-12 students who struggle with reading, comprehensive literacy coaching, and support for teacher learning and leadership for school-wide literacy programs. We strive to develop reading specialists who can deliver systemic change at the school and district levels.

Reading Specialist Faculty

Dr. Holly L. Diehl
Professor and Coordinator of Professional Development Schools Program

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Dr. Diane Fine
Associate Professor and Coordinator, Reading Specialist Program and Integrative STEM Education Program

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Dr. Christine Peterson

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