Literacy Specialist | Curriculum & Teaching

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Literacy Specialist

Department of Curriculum & Teaching

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Program Description

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.

Degrees

  • Master of Arts

    • Points/Credits: 32

      Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall

      Certification:

      • NY State Initial: Literacy Specialist Birth-6

      Degree Requirements

      Students may enroll in the program full-time or part-time. The basic curriculum for M.A. students includes:

      Core: Required of all students (23 points)

      • C&T 4138 Teaching literacy in the early years (2-3)
      • C&T 4139 Constructing critical readers (2-3)
      • C&T 4151 Teaching of writing (2-3)
      • C&T 4200 Fieldwork in curriculum and teaching (6) 3 credits fall; 3 credits spring
      • HBSK 4072 Theory and techniques of reading assessment and intervention (3)
      • C&T 4140 Literature for younger children (2-3) or
      • C&T 4141 Literature for older children (2-3)
      • C&T 5037 Literacy, culture, and the teaching of reading (2-3)

      Master’s Action Research Project: Required of all students (1 point)

      • C&T 4502 Master’s project (1)

      Completion of Master’s Action Research Project

      Out of Program Selectives: Required of all students (4-6 points) To satisfy the college breadth requirement, students must complete two Teachers College courses in addition to HBSK 4072, which is part of the core. (A course for this purpose is defined as one in which a minimum of 2 points is earned outside the program).

      • A&HE 4052 Adolescents and literature (3)
      • A&HL 4001 Sociolinguistics and education (3)
      • A&HT 4077 TESOL classroom practices (3)
      • ITSF 4013 Literacy and development (2-3)
      • ITSF 4015 Introduction to computers, language, and literacy (2-3)
      • ITSF 4028 Teaching literacy in bilingual settings (3)
      • MSTU 4049 Technologies and literacies (2-3)

      Within-Department Selectives: Required of all students (4 points) Students must select at least two courses from the following list:

      • C&T 4858 Institute: Teaching of reading (3)
      • C&T 5800 Institute: Teaching of writing (1, 3, 6) Either:
      • C&T 4137 Literacy and learning in the content areas (2-3) or
      • C&T 4842 Institute: Content area literacies (2-3)

      New York State Education Department (NYSED) has teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher section of the catalog.

Faculty

  • Faculty

    • Lucy M Calkins Robinson Professor in Children's Literature
    • Maria Paula Ghiso Associate Professor of Literacy Education
    • Marjorie Siegel Professor of Education
  • Instructors

    • Rebecca L Bellingham
    • Hareem Atif Khan Senior Staff Developer

Courses

  • C&T 4137 - Literacy and learning in the content areas
    Introduction to theory, research, and practice on the role of literacy in learning mathematics, social studies, science, and the arts. Examination of talk, texts, and reading/writing practices used in content area teaching.
  • C&T 4138 - Teaching literacy in the early years
    Examination of theory, research, and practice of literacy learning and teaching in the early years, including children who are English language learners and children experiencing difficulty with school literacy. Emphasis on alternative models of designing literacy curricula, selection and use of materials (including technologies), and methods of assessing and teaching decoding, spelling, fluency, text use, and comprehension.
  • C&T 4139 - Constructing critical readers
    Prerequisite: C&T 4138. Examination of theory and practice on teaching reading in intermediate grade classrooms. Consideration of curriculum design, assessment practices, teaching methods and children's literature. Emphasis on curricular structures and strategies for teaching comprehension and critical analysis of fiction and nonfiction texts.
  • C&T 4140 - Literature for younger children
    Critical study of literary trends and materials for children in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and early grades. Consideration of developmental issues and reader response theory relating to young children.
  • C&T 4141 - Literature for older children
    The course integrates theory and practice for teachers. Topics include writing development, research on writing, models for responding to and evaluating student writing, and classroom methods for teaching the writing process in elementary classrooms.
  • C&T 4151 - Teaching of writing
    The course integrates theory and practice for teachers. Topics include writing development, research on writing, curriculum development, methods of teaching writing, models for responding to and evaluating student writing, and classroom methods for teaching the writing process in elementary classrooms.
  • C&T 4200 - Fieldwork in curriculum and teaching
    Permission required. Majors work under guidance. Students should have had previous coursework with their supervising staff member and should select a problem relating to this work.
  • C&T 4502 - No Title Found in Banner
    Permission required. Required for M.A. students in the Literacy Specialist Program. Students work to develop proposals to initiate required Master's action research project. This course requires at least 18 hour of out-of-classroom work.
  • C&T 4842 - Institute: Content area literacies
    Introduces K-12 teachers to a toolkit of theories and practices to aid them in rethinking and redesigning literacy practices used in teaching mathematics, science, social studies, and other content areas.
  • C&T 4858 - Institute: Teaching of reading
    Designed to help teachers of grades K-8 develop a theoretical framework for the teaching of reading and a repertoire of strategies of enhancing students' independence and skills as readers.
  • C&T 5037 - Literacy, Culture and the Teaching of Reading
    This 2-3 variable point course is a collaborative investigation into literacy as a social, cultural, and political practice. It provides opportunities for participants to unpack and re-imagine literacy learning and teaching for all students, but especially for those labeled “at risk” due to race/ethnicity, social class, nationality/language, gender, dis/ability, and sexuality. Rooted in the assumption that power circulates in culture, literacy, and education, this course looks closely at the role of power in reading texts, whether print-based, multimodal, digital, filmic, or embodied.
  • C&T 5800 - Institute: Teaching of writing
    The focus of the institute will be on the teaching of writing with the participants also working on their own writing. There will be a combination of large group presentations, small interactive sessions, and writing workshops. Separate sections will be offered for advanced participants. A partial list of topics to be covered includes: the central role of planning and curriculum development in the teaching of writing, methods for holding our students accountable for doing their best work, classroom structures that support inquiry and collaboration, and using literature to help students craft their writing. The Institute is appropriate for elementary and secondary teachers.
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