Language and Literacy

Boston Public School Teachers

Wheelock offers a Reading Specialist Master's program just for BPS teachers, featuring reduced tuition and other benefits.

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Wheelock's Language and Literacy graduate programs prepare students to qualify as reading specialists, add a license in English as a Second Language (ESL), or develop graduate level expertise and leadership skills in reading and language learning.

Master of Science in Teacher of Reading (31 credits)

The Teacher of Reading master's program prepares students to become highly skilled and confident teachers of literacy and meets state requirements for reading specialist licensure in Massachusetts. The course sequence is designed to equip teachers to work more effectively with children of color, children who are English language learners, and children with language-based learning disabilities.

Graduate students take on a wide variety of roles in the program: providing one-on-one and small group reading intervention, whole class literacy teaching, literacy coaching, and school leadership. Program faculty provide close mentoring during two clinical semesters in Wheelock's Literacy Laboratory, based in a linguistically diverse urban school. The Literacy Lab offers opportunities to hone clinical intervention skills, apply theory to practice, and gain experience making measurable change in children's and adolescents' literacy achievement.

Successful completion of the program, along with required MTEL tests, qualifies graduates for Massachusetts licensure as reading specialists, grades preK-12. Students may also elect to add an English as a Second Language (ESL) license, through additional coursework and practicum experience.

The Teacher of Reading program is nationally recognized by the International Literacy Association (ILA). In addition, the program is approved by Massachusetts to meet coursework requirements to advance an initial teaching license in early childhood education, elementary education, moderate disabilities, or English as a second language to professional licensure.

The Teacher of Reading program is open to teachers who hold an initial license and who have completed at least one year of teaching in the area of their first license.

See the MS in Teacher of Reading Course List and Sequence.

Master of Science in Language and Literacy Studies (31 credits)

The Language and Literacy Studies program develops expertise in supporting language acquisition, second language learning, and reading development, areas that are critical for children's overall academic success.

Students who select a reading focus within Language and Literacy Studies learn to assess children's reading and language strengths and needs, evaluate multicultural children's literature, and apply multisensory approaches to reading intervention. Students may also choose a course sequence focused on English as a Second Language (ESL) that addresses factors in second language acquisition and the instructional supports for children who speak a home language other than English. This sequence, combined with a practicum equivalent and successful passage of required MTEL tests, can enable qualified students to add a Massachusetts ESL license.

Teachers with an initial teaching license in early childhood education, elementary education, or moderate disabilities may use selected courses within Language and Literacy Studies to meet the coursework requirements for advancing a first initial license to professional licensure.

Career Opportunities for Language and Literacy Specialists

Alumni of the Language and Literacy programs work as reading specialists, literacy coaches, teaching team leaders, ESL teachers, generalist classroom teachers, and reading tutors in private practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I begin these programs in any semester?
You may begin in the fall, spring, or summer semesters.

Do I need to be a full-time student?
No. Most students complete their program part-time over two years.

Do I have to interview for admission to these programs?
No. But informational interviews can be helpful. To schedule an interview with a faculty member, email the Office of Graduate Admissions at

Do I need prior experience to qualify for admission to these programs?

  • Teacher of Reading Program: Yes. To be admitted to this program, applicants need to have completed a year of post-license teaching experience in the area of their teaching license. The year of teaching needs to be complete by the time the candidate starts the program. Some students begin graduate work in Language and Literacy Studies and transfer into the Teacher of Reading program once they have completed a year of teaching experience.
  • Language and Literacy Studies Program: No. This program does not require teaching experience, but students need to have completed a bachelor's degree with an arts and sciences or education focus, and demonstrate a focused interest in literacy education.

Will I be able to use my current job as a placement opportunity?
Most Teacher of Reading students complete the reading specialist practicum in their current school, collaborating with the school's reading specialist. Faculty can offer guidance about other placements that accompany Language and Literacy courses.

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