BPS Master's Degree Reading Specialist Program Overview and Course List

How to Apply

Applicants must submit an online graduate application, a one to two-page essay, a resume, academic transcripts, and one professional letter of reference.

See full admission requirements and apply online.

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Office of Graduate Admissions Director
Brian Minchello

Following is the course sequence for Boston Public Schools cohort beginning in the Fall semester. This program is 31 credits total or 37 credits with the ESL option added at the end.

Fall Year 1

RDG 601 Multisensory Approaches to Teaching Literacy
Provides theoretical constructs in multisensory literacy approaches to aid the reading specialist, special educator, or classroom teacher meet the complex challenges in instructing students with language-based learning differences. Includes introduction to the Wilson Language Program and the Lindamood-Bell's Lips and Visualizing and Verbalizing programs.

RDG 558 Multicultural Children's Literature
Introduces a broad range of multicultural literature. Focuses on criteria for appropriate book selections. Examines literary theory and genre.  Explores strategies for using children's literature to promote literacy development.

Spring Year 1

RDG 622 Individualized Instruction in Literacy
Develops skill at diagnosing literacy needs through formal and informal assessments and planning research-based instruction. Twice-weekly tutorial sessions with struggling emergent readers in an off-campus laboratory setting. Emphasizes importance of readers' cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

RDG 618 Literacy Across the Curriculum
Examines reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary skills critical for success in academic content areas. Investigates the impact of text difficulty, background knowledge, and understanding of text structure on comprehension of nonfiction text. Develops skill at teaching vocabulary, metacognitive, and study skills in the context of theme-based units.

Summer Year 1

RDG 626 Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Difficulties
Extends competencies developed in RDG 622 in closely mentored, twice-weekly tutorials with struggling readers in upper elementary grades. Emphasizes design of instruction based on careful diagnosis of literacy needs. Develops literacy leadership skills.

MLE 535 Second Language Acquisition and Assessment
Examines processes through which children learn English as a second language. Explores stages of second language acquisition. Introduces multiple dimensions of language proficiency. Develops competency in administering the Massachusetts English Language Assessment-Oral (MELA-O) and other assessments for English language learners.

Fall Year 2

HDF 702 Language, Literacy, and Culture
Explores the relationships between language and culture. Examines methods of helping linguistically diverse students develop literacy abilities within contexts that draw upon and extend home language competencies. Focuses both on native English speakers who speak non-mainstream varieties of English and on children who speak a first language other than English.

RDG 530 Teaching Literacy to ELLs
Introduces key factors affecting the literacy development of bilingual children learning to read and write in English such as print exposure, phonological awareness, and vocabulary in the home language and in English. Participants develop skills in assessing components of children's reading and writing competence, teaching early and later reading skills, planning writing lessons, and monitoring children's literacy progress.

Spring Year 2

RDP 609 Practicum and Seminar: Teacher of Reading
150-hour supervised practicum in the role of teacher of reading, incorporating assessment, small group work, resource development, coaching and professional development, and outreach to parents. Seminar provides opportunities for critical reflection on practice and explores multiple roles of reading specialists.

RES 722 Research in Language and Literacy
Introduces varied approaches to language and literacy research. Provides experience with qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Participants prepare analyses of assessment data and write research briefs for other teachers. Based on questions from their practice, students summarize existing literature and prepare a research proposal.

EDU 706 Capstone: Teacher of Reading (1 credit)
Enables students to reflect on accomplishments in the program, specifically as these relate to the International Reading Association's Professional Standards for Reading Professionals. Seminar provides a collaborative space to explore professional development strategies and draft personal professional development plans. Prerequisites: Passage of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), Reading Specialist and Communication and Literacy tests.

Optional Added Sequence for Reading Master's Plus ESL Focus

MLE 525 Content Instruction for ELLs
Explores cultural and linguistic factors affecting academic development of ELL students. Develops skills for planning lessons in mathematics, science, social studies, and literacy with content and English learning objectives. Emphasizes adaptation of materials for ELLs and assessment of learning in both English and academic content.

MLE 530 Supporting Second Language Acquisition
Surveys second language learning processes and strategies for teaching English to bilingual students. Examines second language acquisition theories and concepts.  Emphasizes creating effective language learning environments and assessment practices.

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