K–12 Reading Specialist Certification

Overview

At Penn State's University Park campus, teachers and other educators can work toward Pennsylvania certification as a Reading Specialist. Unlike many traditional reading specialist programs, our program offers candidates in-depth considerations of linguistic, cognitive, sociocultural, and critical perspectives on working with literacy learners, in and out of school settings. A practicum experience is completed during a six-week summer session. Candidates who finish the course of study with a GPA of 3.33 or better and who achieve a passing score on the 5301 Praxis examination for Reading Specialist are eligible to apply for Pennsylvania K-12 Reading Specialist certification. If you currently hold a PA instructional I or II certificate, the fundamental subjects test (Praxis 5511) is not required.  IUG candidates need to take Praxis 5301 and Praxis 5511. The PRAXIS examination should be taken towards the end of the program after the completion of EDPSY 526, LLED 545, and LLED 550. The fundamental subjects test 5511 can be taken sooner. 


Full-time University Park students have the option of completing the requirements through enrollment in an Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate (IUG) program. It combines a Bachelor's of Science in Special Education with a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Other students can complete the requirements either as part of a master's degree or as a standalone non-degree program of studies. Differences between the options are enumerated below.

Our program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the International Reading Association, and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Required Courses for All Students

  • CI 501: Teaching as Inquiry (typically offered in spring semester)
  • EDPSY 526: The Psychology of Reading (typically offered in spring semester)
  • LLED 500: The Reading/Writing Classroom (typically offered in fall semester)
  • LLED 545: Literacy Assessment (typically offered during spring semester)
  • LLED 550: Theory in Assessment and Remediation of Reading Difficulties. Is taken concurrently with LL ED 595, after completion of LL ED 545 (typically offered during summer semester)
  • LLED 595: Practicum (typically offered during summer semester)
  • SPLED 530: Problems in the Education of the Learning Disabled (typically offered in spring semester)

Additional Requirements for IUG Students

  • CI 495: Internship (typically offered in fall semester)
  • CI 590: Colloquium (1 cr.)
  • LLED 501: Teaching Writing in the Elementary and Secondary School (typically offered in fall semester)
  • An approved master's paper (enrollment in CI 596 for 3 cr. in optional, but not required)

Additional Requirements for Other Students

  • An elective in Curriculum and Supervision: C-S 560, 561, 562, or 563
  • CI 590: Colloquium (1 cr.)
  • LLED 501: Teaching Writing in the Elementary and Secondary School or an adviser-recommended alternative (3 cr.)

Suggested Classes for IUG Students

  • CI 444: Thesis Writing Support (typically offered in fall semester)

Reading specialist certification requires the coursework listed above and a passing score on the PRAXIS 5301 exam. Candidates seeking an M.Ed. in addition to certification must meet certain other requirements and complete a master's project; for more information, please consult the CI Master's Degree Manual.

Sample Plan of Study for IUG Students

Note: The courses listed below are those used to satisfy Reading Specialist and M.Ed. requirements. For details about additional/concurrent coursework for the undergraduate degree in Special Education, IUG students should consult their undergraduate adviser.

Fall Semester, Year 4

  • LLED 500: The Reading/Writing Classroom (3 cr.)

Spring Semester, Year 4

  • CI 501: Teaching as Inquiry (3 cr.)
  • EDPSY 526: The Psychology of Reading (3 cr.)
  • LLED 545: Literacy Assessment (3 cr.)
  • SPLED 530: Problems in the Education of the Learning Disabled (3 cr.)

Summer Session

  • LLED 550: Theory and Practicum in Assessment and Remediation of Reading Difficulties (3 cr.)
  • LLED 595: Special Topics (3 cr.)

Fall Semester, Year 5

  • CI 495: Internship (3 cr.)
  • CI 590: Colloquium (1 cr.)
  • LLED 501: Teaching Writing in the Elementary and Secondary School (3 cr.)
  • LLED 597x or 870: Teaching Reading and Writing to English Learners (3 cr.)
  • CI 444: Thesis Writing Support (Suggested)

Spring Semester, Year 5

(Student teaching for the undergraduate degree)

Contact Information

Karen Eppley
Associate Professor of Education

The Pennsylvania State University
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
156 Chambers Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-3496