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Literacy Specialist
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Literacy Specialist

In the Department of Curriculum & Teaching

About Us

About Us

The M.A. in literacy education is a 32-point program leading to New York State certification as a Literacy Specialist. This program is designed to immerse the literacy educator in an intense study of practice, theory, and research. The eventual goal is to equip 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 portfolios of their own reading and writing development.

The TC faculty in literacy has a long history of social action with areas of special interest that include content area literacies, curriculum development in reading and writing, children's literature, school reform, ethnographic studies of literacy, teacher development, process approaches to reading and writing, and the impact of class, race, and gender on literacy learning. Students 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 enrolled in the Literacy Specialist program have the opportunity to work with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project-- a think-tank and professional development organization that works in field-based ways with schools throughout New York City and the nation. Students can intern in both high-need and state-of-the-art schools, apprentice with mentor teachers, research staff development and school reform, and participate in any of more than 100 full- day conferences offered each year.

Candidates who wish to research and improve their own literacy teaching or serve in leadership positions to help others do the same are encouraged to apply, as are those who intend to engage in scholarly work and continue their education through the doctoral level.