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Loyola’s Reading Specialist Program Receives National Recognition for Teacher Readiness from International Literacy Association

Reading Specialist Program Recognition

Loyola University Maryland’s Reading Specialist program has been recognized by the International Literacy Association (ILA) for its outstanding preparation of literacy professionals and continuous efforts to transform lives through literacy. The Reading Specialist program is one path offered through Loyola's Master of Education in Literacy and leads to certification. 

Loyola is the only institution in Maryland that offers a Reading Specialist program aligned to the new ILA standards. Additionally, Loyola is one of only five literacy programs in the entire United States to receive this recognition — further reinforcing its reputation of developing high-quality teacher education programs.

“This recognition demonstrates that our new 30-hour program is committed to excellence and preparing literacy graduates to address challenges in education while serving as sources of change in their communities,” said Kristina Collins, literacy graduate program co-director. “As equity is a cornerstone of our standards and curriculum, this recognition also highlights our work in training literacy leaders to work for social justice and educational equity.”

Earning ILA National Recognition illustrates that an institution adheres to a specific, rigorous set of standards for preparing literacy professionals. For a program to achieve recognition, its reading and literacy specialist candidates must have the following at the conclusion of their program:

  • A valid teaching certificate,
  • Teaching experience, preferably two years’ worth,
  • The equivalent of 21–27 graduate credits in literacy and related courses, and 
  • Supervised practicum experiences related to their work with students and their work with colleagues.

“Through our hybrid and fully online program, we take seriously our mission to prepare educators with the highest professional standards and evidence-based practices available,” said Leah Katherine Saal, Ph.D., associate professor of literacy. “This ILA National Recognition and corresponding school-based practica showcase the value our program places on partnerships with the school systems and, especially, the culturally and linguistically diverse K-12 students, families, and communities we serve.”