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M.Ed. in Literacy - Reading Specialist

The M.Ed. in Literacy for Reading Specialists is a 30-credit fully online synchronous program designed for experienced classroom teachers who wish to develop a strong foundation in literacy and the development of leadership skills. In this program you will be prepared to meet the literacy needs of all students and assume leadership positions in your school. This program is designed for the certified teacher who wishes to be additionally certified by the Maryland State Department of Education as a Reading Specialist based on and aligned to the International Literacy Association Standards (ILA).

Program Overview

  • Credits: 30
  • Delivery: 100% Online
  • Next Admission Term: Fall 2024
  • Class Duration: 8 weeks
  • Format: Part-time
  • Time of Completion: 5 semesters
  • Tuition Information

The Reading Specialist track is based on a reflexive practitioner model that contains a capstone experience in two separate supervised practica. These clinical courses are aligned to the 2017 International Reading Association Standards for Reading Specialist including a two-course practica sequence and lead to advanced certification as a Reading Specialist, K-12, from the Maryland State Department of Education. In these practica, candidates conduct full diagnostic assessments, prepare individualized instruction programs, work with K-12 students, and evaluate the effects of the instruction.

Program Requirements


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 GPA Cumulative
  • Certified as a teacher

Degree Requirements

  • Complete 30 credits of coursework with a B on better
  • Maintain 3.0 QPA average
  • Take and pass PRAXIS II – Reading Specialist #5302 with a passing score of 164 or higher

Candidates should complete the Literacy Core before proceeding to the Reading Specialist Track.

Literacy Core (18 credits)
RE 510 Foundations of Literacy Curriculum and Instruction (3)
RE 520 Principles and Practices of Reading  (3)
RE 603 Language, Literacy, and Culture (3)
RE 605 Principles and Practices of Writing (3)
RE610 Disciplinary & Digital Literacies (3)
RE737 Literacy Assessment I (3)
Reading Specialist Track  (12 credits)
RE 739 Literacy Assessment II (3)
RE 740 Literacy Leadership (3)
RE756 Practicum I (3)
RE 757 Practicum II (3)


The Literacy Practica are offered as a two-course clinical sequence. Candidates work with K-12 students in the schools where they currently teach and meet online with their classmates and practicum supervisor to observe and reflect on developing best clinical practices. In the Practicum I, candidates work with a small group of three to five K-12 students to clinically assess students, design and implement interventions, and evaluate the effectiveness of these clinical practices. In Practicum II, candidates work with an individual K-12 student to expand their literacy skills and assess, design, implement, and evaluate colleagues’ practices using a research-based coaching model.  The clinical sequence of courses is designed to facilitate the development of instructional and coaching skills resulting in the ability to become a successful Reading Specialist and literacy leader within a school environment.

Statement on Certification

Students who are currently certified in the state of Maryland and who complete the Reading Specialist Track through Loyola University Maryland will be eligible for certification as a Reading Specialist through Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). In order to receive the MSDE certification in Reading Specialist, you must first be certified in another area by MSDE. The Literacy program requires three years of certified teaching experience to be certified as a Reading Specialist by the end of the program, which includes the two year minimum state of Maryland requirement.

If you are not currently certified in the state of Maryland, you will first need to transfer your current certification to the state of Maryland in order to be eligible for Reading Specialist certification through MSDE.

If you wish to be certified in a state or district other than Maryland as a Reading Specialist, you will need to work with your state or district to determine eligibility steps.

Program Advantages

  • Nationally recognized as one of the top Literacy/Reading Specialist Programs in the U.S. according to the International Literacy Association.
  • Courses are offered fully online.
  • We focus on literacy as a social justice issue and right for all people.
  • We develop reflexive practitioners who serve as curricular experts, advocates, and literacy leaders in their communities.
  • We offer rich field experiences supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Completion Time

The program is designed to be completed in 5 semesters – taking two courses per semester. Students take one course each eight weeks consecutively on one night per week through four school year semesters (fall and spring) and one summer semester.

You have up to five years to complete the degree.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Obtain a M.Ed. in Literacy Education
  2. Become certified by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) as a Reading Specialist, if you are already a certified teacher.
Outstanding Career Preparation

Loyola'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. 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 a handful of literacy programs in the entire United States to receive this recognition.

International Literacy Association Reading/Literacy Specialist Preparation Program Badge

Literacy and Social Justice

True to Loyola's Jesuit roots, we focus on literacy as a social justice issue and a right for all children in public and private schools, with the knowledge that literacy is the focus of all educational endeavors. Our orientation toward literacy focuses on the many "ways" that people read and write in their lives, with specific attention to the cultural and social practices or activities that shape people's interaction with texts and contexts.


Ready to learn more?

Explore the following links or contact us at or 410-617-2990.