The Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in Literacy is a graduate program designed
to focus on the most current research in the field of literacy. The program provides
an in-depth study of literacy development and strategies to support academic growth
and success. The curriculum includes a variety of literacy topics, such as foundational
knowledge, developmental continuums, assessment, writing, and specific strategies
for supporting students. Graduates of the program who meet the criteria and are interested
may be eligible to add on the reading specialist endorsement to their current teaching
Literacy program supports individual needs
Second grade teacher Candace Stanley didn’t enter the classroom immediately after
earning her undergraduate degree because she wanted to be at home while her children
were young. When she did start teaching some 13 years later, “practices had changed
tremendously, and I realized that I needed to update my knowledge bank, vocabulary,
and skill set,” Stanley recalls. “I started looking at cohorts, online programs, and
campus-based programs. When I looked into the classes I would take, I decided that
a general degree was not for me. Instead, I decided to focus my time and energy on
the topic that I really loved--literacy. I wanted to instill a love for reading and
writing in my students and wanted to help the struggling readers that came into my
classroom.” MTSU’s master’s in literacy lived up to her expectations, providing many
useful tools, beneficial assignments, and the “focus to know where my students needed
to be and how to get them there.” Stanley says meeting for on-campus classes and developing
relationships with instructors and other class members made her studies more effective.
She praises the enthusiasm and positivity she experienced throughout the program and
is especially impressed with the understanding and support she received after a personal
tragedy. “I will forever be grateful for instructors who were caring, quality individuals
who supported me beyond my expectations.”
Strengthen instructional skills through the literacy program
When Alyssa Cave decided to continue her studies in graduate school, she was uncertain
about her professional future, but she was certain about one thing: “I knew that if
I was going to pursue my master’s degree that it had to be something I was passionate
about. Literacy will always be a passion of mine. I also knew that this degree would
help me greatly if I decided to return to the elementary classroom.” Cave says the
program gave her the opportunity to reflect on what she wanted out of her life and
career, explaining, “The professors were always challenging us to think about our
next steps and where we wanted to end up. This program really helped me set priorities
and goals for myself.” Cave is assistant director of talent management for the Department
of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. She oversees training for the department
along with developing and executing the department’s talent management strategy. Cave
recommends the Literacy program to anyone interested in pursuing a master’s in education
because “this program will really strengthen your instructional skills.” As she looks
to her future, she is applying to an Ed.D. program with hopes of starting next year.
MTSU College of Graduate Studies
Graduates from the Literacy program may be employed in a variety of positions within
public schools or private settings. Examples include, but are not limited to,
- Classroom teacher
- Reading specialist
- Reading interventionist
- Mentor teacher
- Literacy tutor
Alumni from the Literacy Program have been employed in many districts including
- Metro-Davidson Schools
- Murfreesboro City Schools
- Rutherford County Schools
Joan Boulware, Program Director
The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers the Master of Education degree with a major in Literacy that leads to the Literacy endorsement, Reading Specialist, PreK-12.
Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.
Students seeking admission to the Master of Education program are expected to score at least 380 on the Miller Analogies Test or 281 on the Graduate Record Examination or the minimum on a National Teachers Examination (Praxis II) that meets Tennessee licensure standards.
Tennessee Reading Specialist Certification requirements include
- three successful years of classroom experience,
- pass Praxis 10300,
- complete advanced studies addressing Reading Specialist standards.
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
- submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php).Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
- submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam (PRAXIS II), or Miller Analogies Test (MAT);
- submit official transcripts of all previous college work (GPA of previous work should be 3.0 or higher.);
- participate in an intake interview;
- have a bachelor's degree in Education or initial licensure.
The Master of Education in Literacy requires completion of a minimum of 33 semester hours.
Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive examination to be taken in the last semester of coursework (may be taken no more than twice).
The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements.
Required Courses (24 hours)
DYST 6000 - Introduction to Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Overview of the history and science of dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Examines the value of integrating insights from the cognitive psychology and neuroscience into diagnostic, therapeutic, and instructional models of literacy. Explores the etiology and prevalence of reading disabilities and addresses current issues in assessment and intervention.
ELED 6000 - Teaching Writing
An in-depth exploration of students' efforts to become writers. Presents theoretical and practical strategies for establishing an effective writing environment based on current research.
READ 6000 - Foundations of Literacy
Prerequisite: A reading methods or literacy course. Planning and developing a reading program through extensive reading in the field and seminar participation. Special emphasis on the reading process.
READ 6710 - Adolescent Literacy
Approaches to effective literacy enhancement in middle and secondary school programs. Suggestions for meeting the literacy needs of typical and atypical adolescent literacy learners.
READ 6730 - Curriculum and Supervision of Literacy Instruction
The role of the reading specialist. Focuses on preparing reading specialists to work with students and adults in school settings. Planning in-service presentations, grant writing, critiquing materials, and effective reading programs explored.
READ 6750 - Research in Literacy
Prerequisite: READ 6000, its equivalent, or permission of the instructor. An investigation of significant research related to reading with emphasis on classroom practices, group analysis, and individual study. (Available on permission-of-department basis only.)
READ 6760 - Early Literacy
A methods course that concentrates on beginning reading and emergent literacy issues in developing reading and writing.
READ 6790 - Literacy Practicum
3 to 6credit hours
Prerequisite: READ 6720 or equivalent. A supervised practice in teaching children with various types of reading and learning problems. Student may enroll for 3 hours credit or 6 hours credit in a single semester. May be repeated for up to 6 credits; however, only 3 credits may apply toward the degree.
*required for licensure
Electives (9 hours)
Choose three courses from the following:
DYST 6010 - Identifying Students with Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and DYST 6000. Details the profile of dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Develops competency in choosing appropriate testing batteries for identification, administering valid and reliable measures, and interpreting and communicating the results. Outlines how to use assessment data to plan instruction and monitor progress.
DYST 6011 - Interventions for Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor and DYST 6000. Details the elements of intervention for children with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Increases competency in identifying and implementing effective interventions based on student skills and characteristics. Covers evidence-based interventions in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.
PSY 6530 - The Psychology of Reading and Reading Development
Overview of the cognitive processes involved in reading. The structure of both oral and written language; cognitive mechanisms in reading; language development and the acquisition of reading skills; developmental and acquired disorders of language and reading.
SPED 6100 - Differentiation and Literacy: Teaching Corrective Reading and Writing
Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. Identifies and implements evidence-based reading interventions and strategies. Incorporates writing deficits; how to identify students with reading disabilities, administer curriculum-based assessments, determine skill level, determine appropriate interventions, assess intervention outcomes, and adjust interventions when needed.
SPSE 6800 - Curriculum Design and Instruction for ELs
Analysis of curriculum models for instruction in the EL classroom. Considers elements of differentiated instruction, transformative literacy frameworks, and standards-based content in lesson planning, embedded assessment tasks, and units plans with appropriate accommodations and adjustments for second language learners. Fieldwork required.
Any course requiring admission to Teacher Education may require observations, case studies, or other time in PreK-12 classes.