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Literacy Specialist
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Literacy Specialist

In the Department of Curriculum & Teaching

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Welcome to the Literacy Specialist Program

  • About the Program

    The Literacy Specialist M.A.program is a 32-point program that leads to New York State certification in Teaching Literacy. This program is designed to immerse the literacy educator in an intense study of practice, theory, and research.The eventual goal is to prepare each participant to assume a leadership role in literacy education.

    The program regards the teaching of reading and writing as complex undertakings, and strives to equip its students to teach well. Students investigate individual literacy learning, group literacy learning, teacher development,community partnerships, institutional change, and other contemporary and political issues facing literacy education. The program assumes that teachers' own literacy work will be a source of knowledge and inspiration in their teaching. Students write creatively as well as professionally, participate in their own reading clubs, and keep portfolio sof their own reading and writing development.

    The TC faculty in literacy have along history of social action with areas of special interest that include curriculum development in reading and writing, school reform, process approaches to reading and writing, content area literacies, ethnographic studies of literacy, designing professional development programs, research on the impact of class, race, and gender on literacy learning, and children's literature. The faculty supports students as they participate in challenging courses, engage in readings, learn from mentorships, and conduct their own action-research projects in which they demonstrate their abilities to synthesize theory and practice and to weave the two throughout their individual work.

    Teachers College students in the Literacy Specialist program have the opportunity to work with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP)—a think-tank and professional development organization that works infield-based ways with more than a thousand schools throughout New York City,the nation, and the world. Students can intern in schools that are Project strongholds and apprentice with mentor teachers,research staff development and school reform. Students also have the option to apply for the role of TCRWP fellows. This role gives access to any of more than 200 full day conferences offered each year.These conferences are led by Project staff and by scores of major literacy leaders from across the nation. For example, Georgia Heard, Katherine Bomer, Maurice Sykes, Smokey Daniels, Pedro Noguera, Dick Allington, Ellin Keene, Kylene Beers, Randy Bomer, David Booth,Roland Barth, Carl Anderson, and Donald Bear are among those who lead conference days every year. You will learn more about this role during registration.

    Students who wish to research and improve their own literacy teaching and who want to serve in leadership positions so as to help others do the same will thrive in this program. Students who wish to engage in scholarly work may decide to continue their education through the doctoral level.