Our 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. Our 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.
Our faculty in literacy have a long 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.
Our students have the opportunity to work with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP)—a think-tank and professional development organization that works in the field with more than a thousand schools throughout New York City, the nation, and the world. Students can intern in schools that are Project affiliates 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 TCRWP 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 beyond the M.A. may decide to continue their education through the doctoral level.
We hope you'll reach out to us with any questions as you delve further into the Literacy Specialist program.