Reading Specialist Certification Course Descriptions

EDUC 600 - Early Literacy Foundations
This developmental literacy course will focus on beginning reading and the interrelated language arts to meet the requirements for the reading specialist certification. Emphasis will be given to the cognitive/ constructivist perspective of reading that addresses reading and writing as processes of constructing meaning. Students will examine the developmental stages of reading, writing and spelling, as well as the four systems of language. Students will learn integrative instructional strategies to teach phonemic awareness, linguistic patterns, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, as well as using technology to enhance instruction. The scope of the course covers a historical perspective, theories of reading, literature-based instruction and instructional alignment with state standards and the Pa Literacy Framework. Appropriate current research literature will also be investigated. Students will tutor a child (Pre K-3) for a minimum of 10 hours during the semester and present a reading strategy or method to a teacher and/or parent in the field.

EDUC 601 - Literacy Foundations for Intermediate Grades
This developmental course will focus on the reading and writing processes within the context of literature-based reading instruction across the curriculum for grades 4 to 8. Methods, strategies, and materials for teaching the interrelated language arts will be stressed. Emphasis will be given to comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, creative expression, varying reading rate according to purpose and difficulty, and technology to enhance instruction as well as curriculum-based assessment. A variety of current research literature will also be investigated. Students will develop a literacy unit demonstrating alignment with state standards and will evaluate materials and literacy programs. Students will attend a professional meeting and/or become members of a professional education organization.

EDUC 602 - Reading and Learning Differences
This course will focus on the physiological, psychological, sociological, neurological, and educational factors contributing to literacy acquisition and cautions about labeling children and youth. Students will explore various theories, research findings, and diagnostic procedures along with portfolio assessment. A resource file will be developed for future use. The student will be guided in writing an Individual Educational Plan (IEP), diagnostic with remediation procedures, for student(s) with severe learning disabilities related to literacy. Students will demonstrate understanding of the components and procedures adopted by PSSA. The student is expected to conduct reading assessments and write a case study on a youngster including an IEP. (Prerequisite: EDUC 600 or 601 or 603)

EDUC 603 - Reading Strategies for Middle and Secondary Content Areas
This course will focus on expository reading development in content areas such as language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and music, as well as the use of literature to supplement content texts. Emphasis will be given to the reading process and effective teaching practices that aid students’ comprehension, vocabulary, critical thinking, studying, and writing. A variety of current research literature will also be reviewed. This is a course for Reading Specialists, middle level, and secondary education majors that meets state standards for certification in a content area. Students will create a portfolio of reading strategies that may be employed before, during, or after reading a middle level or secondary level content area textbook. Ten hours of classroom observation is required.

EDUC 604 - Assessment, Intervention and Reporting of Literacy Progress
This course should be taken following EDUC 602: Reading and Learning Differences. It will expand the student’s knowledge of on-going comprehensive evidence-based instruction through the use of assessment and observation. Students will examine, explore, and implement assessment tools such as various informal reading inventories (IRIs), curriculum-based assessments, spelling and phonics assessments, literacy self-perception and attitude scales for the purpose of increasing literacy development. Focus will be given to effective home-school partnerships by communicating results and recommendations with parents. Examination of Response to Intervention (RtI) and Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) processes, universal screening, progress monitoring, multi-tiered instruction, and research-based interventions will be included. Students will write an in depth literacy report detailing a student’s literary development and recommendations for continued growth and development.

EDUC 606 - Multicultural Literature and Curriculum
This course is designed for education majors and graduate students interested in teaching literacy in our culturally and linguistically diverse school populations as well as teaching homogeneous groups the importance of multicultural literature. Emphasis will focus on the theoretical framework for an integrated view of culturally relevant pedagogy and culturally responsive teaching. Students will review the multicultural literature for youth and children. Attention will be given to the linguistic differences as they relate to the socio-cultural environment and instruction. Students will apply reader response theory and participate in grand conversations about multicultural literature. Students also will create a repertoire of culturally relevant literature and strategies for their teaching experiences.

EDUC 612 - Reading Specialist Practicum
This course is the culmination for the Reading Specialist certification program. All required literacy courses are prerequisites for this course. The practicum offers a “real world” teaching experience under the supervision of a university professor, who is also a certified reading specialist as well as working directly in the field. The practicum consists of five components: (a) assessing and representing learning by documenting, analyzing, and reporting students’ literacy learning; (b) establishing on-going weekly communication with families to use as a resource for instruction; (c) building learning communities through readings, conversations, and celebrations in seminars; (d) development of reflective teaching for improvement through analyzing and critiquing video-taped lessons; (e) preparing an in-service professional development workshop for teachers and/or parents.

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