Language and Literacy Studies

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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Reflecting a belief that literacy is embedded in language practices in schools, homes, and communities, Wheelock's Language and Literacy graduate programs have a distinctive multicultural and urban orientation. Master's degree options are designed for classroom teachers who want to further develop their expertise in reading and language learning or for individuals interested in community work, curriculum leadership, or graduate study in literacy.

The programs offered by the Language and Literacy Department combine real-world experience with coursework in language acquisition, multicultural children's literature, literacy pedagogy, and research.

Language and Literacy Programs Focus on Multiculturalism

Wheelock offers two Language and Literacy graduate degree programs; click on each one for more details:

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

Language and Literacy Program Overviews

Master of Science in Language and Literacy Studies
This master's degree program helps develop expertise in particular aspects of language and literacy, such as multilingual literacy or reading, writing, and assessment.

While completion of this program does not lead to initial teacher licensure, the program serves as preparation for work in curriculum development, school leadership in literacy, or doctoral studies. Some teachers have chosen to use courses within this program to prepare to independently add a second license in Teaching English as a Second Language. Teachers with an initial teaching license in elementary education, early childhood education, or moderate disabilities may use selected courses within this program to meet the coursework requirements for advancing a first initial license to professional level of licensure.

In designing your course of study with an advisor, you will select an area of focus and plan to meet requirements in human development, multiculturalism, and research. Although field experiences are not required, you may participate in the two-semester Literacy Laboratory experience supported by Wheelock at a nearby urban elementary school.

Master of Science in Teacher of Reading
This master's degree program incorporates a focus on developing children's oral language as well as their reading abilities. Successful completion of the program, along with the required teacher tests, leads to Massachusetts licensure as a teacher of reading, grades preK-12. The program is open to teachers who hold an initial license and who have completed at least one year of teaching experience in the area of this first license. 

The program is also approved by Massachusetts to meet the coursework requirements for advancing an initial teaching license in elementary education, early childhood education, moderate disabilities, or English as a second language to professional status.

Learning about personal, community, and social factors that support literacy is a common thread in many of the program's courses. Through a set of three different field experiences, you will learn how to coach and mentor other teachers, as well as how to provide carefully tailored and effective instruction to struggling readers.

Distinctive Features of Wheelock's MS in Teacher of Reading Program

  • A focus on working with culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • An emphasis on closely-monitored practice through a two-semester clinical experience where graduate students work with a faculty mentor in an afterschool Literacy Laboratory sponsored by the College at a nearby urban elementary school. Students participate in a total of 200 hours of clinical experience, 50 at the Literacy Laboratory and 150 practicum hours with a reading specialist in an elementary school.

Career Opportunities for Language and Literacy Specialists

Alumni of the Language and Literacy programs work as classroom teachers, sheltered English immersion teachers, reading specialists, literacy coaches, and reading tutors in private practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I begin these programs in any semester?
You may begin this program in the fall or summer semesters. We recommend enrolling in the fall semester if you intend to complete your program as a full-time student in three semesters.

Do I need to be a full-time student?
No. You may enroll with full-time or part-time status.

Do I have to interview for admission to these programs?
No. But informational interviews to learn more about the programs and how they might fit with your professional goals are encouraged. 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?
- MS Language and Literacy Studies Program: No.  This program does not require any prior experience,  but you will need to have completed a bachelor's degree with an arts and sciences or education focus, and have a demonstrated interest in literacy education.
- MS Teacher of Reading Program: Yes. To be admitted to this program, applicants need at least one year of post-license teaching experience in the area of their license. The year of teaching needs to be complete by the time the candidate is scheduled to start this program. If you do not have an initial license or teaching experience, the program advisor may be able to assist you in finding an internship through Wheelock partner schools to help you meet the teaching experience requirement.

Will I be able to use my current job as a placement opportunity?
In some instances, students can build a practicum experience in their current school, collaborating with the school's reading specialist. Students should discuss this option with the program coordinator or faculty advisor. Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at to be connected with a faculty member who can discuss this option with you in greater detail.

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