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The Literacy Specialist M.A. program leads to New York State certification in Teaching Literacy and prepares students to assume leadership roles in literacy education.
Students in the 32 point program are immersed in an intense study of practice, theory, and research. They investigate individual and group literacy learning, teacher development, community partnerships, institutional change, and other contemporary and political issues facing literacy education. Participants’ own literacy work plays an important role in their course work. Students write creatively as well as professionally, participate in reading clubs, and keep portfolios of their reading and writing development.
The TC faculty in literacy has a long history of social action with areas of special interest that include reading and writing curriculum development, school reform, process approaches to reading and writing, content area literacies, ethnographic studies of literacy, professional development program design, the impact of class, race, and gender on literacy learning, and children’s literature. The faculty supports students in a variety of endeavors, from participation in courses and mentorships to pursuit of action-research projects in which students synthesize theory and practice.
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 in field-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 or staff developers and deepen their understanding of school reform. Students also have the option to be TCRWP fellows. This role gives them access to over 200 annual full-day conferences led by Project staff and by scores of major literacy leaders from across the nation, such as 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.
Educators who wish to research and improve their own literacy teaching and who want to serve in leadership positions 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.