2020-2021 Academic Catalog

Certificate: Reading Specialist

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Program Description

The Reading Specialist certificate program prepares competent literacy leaders by developing and enhancing the knowledge, professional practices and professionalism of certified classroom teachers and educators for work in all educational settings.

This program is appropriate for students who are only interested in seeking Reading Specialist certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). At the completion of this program, Cal U awards a certificate of completion; candidates must apply to PDE for teacher certification, which requires a passing score on the associated Reading Specialist Praxis exam. 

Program Adviser

Dr. Diane Fine

Delivery Mode

All courses are delivered online, except for the clinical practicum experience, which takes place on campus during a five-and-a-half week summer reading practicum.


The Reading Specialist program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, formerly NCATE) and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education; the Reading Specialist program is nationally recognized by the International Literacy Association (ILA). 


Course Credits
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 734  Content Area Reading 3
Total 24

Additional Requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires all reading specialists to have 9 credits of special education and 3 credits of English as a second language. Therefore, if a student entering the reading specialist program does not have those courses in their undergraduate transcript, those credits must be earned prior to applying for the reading specialist certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

To graduate from the program, candidates must successfully complete a PracticumFolio during the reading practicum experience.

To have the reading specialist certification added to a Pennsylvania teaching certificate, candidates must pass the Reading Specialist Praxis test. Candidates interested in certification outside Pennsylvania are required to secure and follow regulations from the other states or entities.


 Pennsylvania Act 24, 34, 114, 131 and 151 clearances (or appropriate clearances for non-Pennsylvania residents) are required for field-based course registration but not admission. Applicants may be admitted to the program but will not be able to register for field-based courses until all of the up-to-date clearances are submitted.

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