Many elementary schools in the U.S. employ the work of a reading specialist to develop and provide “prescriptive,” or targeted instruction for struggling readers. These certified teachers are crucial both to the individual student's reading progress and to the overall reading goals of the school. Since the reading specialist works in tandem with classroom teachers, the administration, and families— they have a unique role and perspective in ensuring students' success.
Qualifications and requirements for reading specialists will vary both by state and school district. However, most reading specialists have completed additional training and education especially designed for educators to provide targeted, individualized reading instruction to children that will bolster classroom instruction. Many reading specialists have attained a master's degree specifically in Reading and Literacy.
Our Marygrove Master in the Art of Teaching program offers an Elementary Reading and Literacy master's degree designed for the working K-6 teacher. This program offers students the knowledge necessary to assess and instruct struggling readers, and teaches how to develop intervention plans tailored to the individual student.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, we’ve outlined “A Day in the Life of a Reading Specialist” below! We applaud the expertise these professionals represent, and the difference they can make in a child’s learning.
A Reading Specialist:
- Works in a clinical setting separate from the child's classroom.
- Focuses on the individual child through careful diagnosis and remediation of reading weaknesses.
- Is primarily responsible for students who have been determined to be at risk of failure via school, district, or state reading assessments, but may also spend time with gifted readers to extend their learning experiences through differentiated instruction.
- Collaborates with the classroom teacher to ensure the specific reading instruction is aligned with the current classroom curriculum.
- Creates curriculum and instruction for struggling readers that is individualized and strategic.
- Monitors the progress of the struggling reader regularly to ensure that specific interventions and instruction are being translated into improved reading ability.
- Connects with the student's family to support at-home reading and learning and provides ways for family and friends to help with the specialist's reading instruction.
A typical day may include:
- Conducting short, focused sessions with individual children or groups of children (usually 20-30 minutes) who need additional intervention as determined by assessment data.
- Assessing students who currently receive additional support in reading and entering this data into a reporting tool or maintaining a data spreadsheet.
- Updating the Principal or Curriculum Director on the progress of struggling readers or on the program as a whole.
- Participating in grade level team meetings or collaborating with individual teachers to coordinate classroom instruction with the targeted reading interventions.
- Maintaining anecdotal and performance-based records to carefully monitor student work and progress.
- Communicating with students' families via e-mail, phone, or in-person conferences.
If you have a passion for reading and would love to help students master their own abilities, a Reading Specialist position may be for you. The forecast for growth is especially good for these educators, as English Language Learners (ELL) and English as Second language Learners (ESL) populations continue to rise in the United States.
Contact one of our MAT Enrollment Specialists today at 855-628-6279 for information on how you can get your career on the path to success! We are enrolling now for summer, classes begin May 7!