As a reading and literacy specialist, you will help children of all backgrounds learn how to enjoy the gift of books. A master’s degree will train you in the strategies needed to devise the tailored curriculum, interventions, and assessments for your students. Through one of these online programs, you can learn how to help students of all ages succeed, as well as how to make yourself a better educator.
What kind of Master’s in Reading and Literacy should you get?
Look for a degree that enables you to apply your newly acquired skills to a real-world setting. Most degree programs require you to complete several hours of in-field training. Even more importantly, you should look for a degree that fits your busy schedule.
If you are already a teacher, you undoubtedly know how hectic your daily schedule can be. Therefore, an online degree is crucial to help you meet your professional goals, as well as the ones you have as a graduate student.
Check out College Choice’s list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with a Master’s in Reading and Literacy?
Your exact salary as a graduate of a Reading and Literacy program will likely vary. You can expect a salary of around $56,900 per year, but this may fluctuate depending on where you work, the grade level of the students you teach, and the amount of time you have been a teacher.
In many states and at certain types of schools, however, this figure is much higher. Individuals who work as classroom elementary school teachers tend to earn the highest starting salaries. Luckily, these high-paying professions are expected to grow, with a seven percent growth rate by 2026.
What can you do with a Master’s in Reading and Literacy?
With a Master’s in Reading and Literacy, you will be prepared to work in all types of education at the elementary and secondary levels. You may continue as a reading specialist, or work as a classroom teacher in another area with added expertise in the area of literacy.
The opportunities are endless. Some graduates go on to pursue work as literacy coaches or become teachers of English as a second language. You may write policy for future educators, or continue on with your training so that you may become a college instructor of future educators yourself.
What are the requirements for a Master’s in Reading and Literacy?
Most graduate programs in Reading and Literacy will require you to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a related subject. You might need to have a teaching certificate or be currently employed as an elementary or secondary teacher.
However, because many candidates choose a Master’s in Reading and Literacy before they are working in a school district, or as a supplement to their training in another certification area, this is often not required. While you are enrolled, you will take classes in curriculum development, specific reading interventions, and special education strategies, just to name a few. You will likely engage in field hours to help give you experience in an actual classroom as well.
What are the best Master’s in Reading and Literacy degrees?
Most online degrees will provide you with the knowledge and experience necessary to improve students’ reading comprehension, language acquisition, fluency, and phonemic awareness. You should look for a program that provides background in topics such as child psychology, theories of teaching and learning, and curriculum development.
When we compiled our rankings, we looked at factors such as the quality of faculty (according to their expertise, credentials, and dedication to student success) and the affordability of the program. We also looked at the reaches of the online program, analyzing how quickly and successfully students were able to complete their courses within a distance learning setting. Ready to learn more? Peruse our list of the Best Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy below.
University of Georgia
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $14,956
Located in Athens, GA, the University of Georgia is the best school for online candidates. The school, founded in 1785, is a land- and sea-grant university with well over 37,000 enrollees. It offers a twelve-course Master’s in Reading Education that is designed to help teachers learn how to prepare Pre-K through 12 learners for a rigorous reading curriculum.
This program, which can be completed in less than two years, is geared specifically toward licensed teachers who are currently working in their own classrooms. With 36 credit hours required for graduation, this program is designed in a cohort-based model so that students move with their peers through an intensive curriculum. Sample courses include:
- Survey of Reading Instruction Pre-K Through Grade 12
- Integration Digital Resources in the Literary Classroom
- New Literacies
- The History of Teaching Methods for Literacy Learning in the United States
Distance learners are supported by a generous financial aid policy, with multiple scholarships and grants available for students in the College of Education. Furthermore, the school hosts an incredibly generous transfer policy, allowing degree-seeking candidates to transfer in nearly a third of their required courses. The degree leads to Reading Endorsement for teacher certification in the state of Georgia.
College Choice Score: 95.26
Average Net Price: $15,114
SUNY Albany, part of the state system in Albany, NY, enrolls over 17,000 students each year, with nearly 125 different graduate degrees available. SUNY Albany is one of the few universities on this list that does not require candidates to possess a teaching certificate in order to enjoy its high-caliber online Master of Science in Reading. This program is designed instead for professionals who wish to work in capacities besides teaching – just as counselors or literacy program coordinators.
In this program, all students are required to take a sequence of courses that emphasize theoretical knowledge before engaging in an internship, clinical practicum, or field experience. A unique feature of this program is that it allows students to substitute a study abroad program for the practicum hours required to graduate. Other required classes include:
- Early Literacy Development
- Literacy in Society
- Classroom Literacy Instruction
- Practicum: Writing in the Classroom, 1-6
SUNY Albany is a pioneer in the field of distance education, having offered online courses for over 20 years. There are 17 different programs available in the departments of Education and Public Health alone, giving graduate students extensive opportunities to pursue elective courses or additional majors or certifications. The program can be completed on either a full- or part-time basis.
Loyola Marymount University
College Choice Score: 93.27
Average Net Price: $40,946
Loyola Marymount University has a profound Jesuit tradition, offering online learning to thousands of distance learners each year. The Master of Arts in Reading Instruction is unique in its strong emphasis on technology utilization and working with diverse populations. Offered as a traditional, on-campus program as well as in an online setting, this degree is a great option for professionals seeking to teach more effectively at any level.
The program requires 33 credit hours and is designed for the busy working professional. Students can complete their studies in less than two years, studying primarily through asynchronous courses. No thesis or final project is required, but students will take classes such as:
- Looking at the Classroom Through a Linguistic Lens
- Assessment and Reading Performance
- Resourcing and Implementing Technology for Effective Reading
- Introduction to Reading Difficulties
Loyola Marymount is one of only three private universities to offer a three-part Master of Arts, Reading Certificate, and Reading Specialist Credential. This enables students to pursue myriad careers, including those as reading specialists, literacy coordinators, and private clinicians. As a result, the school ranks third overall as one of the Best Universities with Master’s Programs in the West, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Texas A&M University
College Choice Score: 91.55
Average Net Price: $15,455
Located in College Station, TX, Texas A&M University offers two dynamic programs in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading and Literacy: a Master of Science and a Master of Education. Both programs follow similar curricula, but the MS emphasizes research while the M.Ed. provides students with more in-depth training in instructional strategy.
This program, at either 32 or 36 credit hours, leads to reading specialist certification in most areas. All classes are delivered asynchronously, and students benefit from the support of services such as 24-hour help desks, tutoring, counseling, and library services. Required classes include:
- Cultural Foundations of Education
- Curriculum Development
- Analysis of Teaching Behavior
- Developmental Reading in the Elementary School
This program is one-of-a-kind in its affordability, offering graduate students access to all financial aid, including scholarships and grants. This enables students to study at their own pace and despite all other financial obligations. In addition, it prepares students to pursue engaging careers as classroom teachers or to add additional certification such as those for Reading Specialist and Master Reading Teacher. The school also has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in curriculum and Instruction.
College Choice Score: 90.98
Average Net Price: $22,676
Hamline University, a pioneer in 21st-century literacy education, offers candidates a progressive curriculum that is designed to reflect the most current trends and methods in teaching students how to read. This private liberal arts institution was the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota and currently enrolls over 3,000 graduate students.
Students in this program can take up to ten credits of electives so that they can explore different education-related areas. Alternatively, they can choose to concentrate in a specific field. Available concentrations include Autism Spectrum Disorders and Urban Teaching. Other required courses include:
- Essentials in Literacy
- Understanding Learning
- Investigating Contemporary and Critical Issues in Education
- Policy, Leadership, and Advocacy for Educators
Hamline has received multiple accolades from ranking associations like U.S. News and World Report, with high marks designated to the colleges’ overall value and regional acclaim. Ninety-one percent of faculty members hold a Ph.D. or other terminal degree, teaching in class sizes that are usually smaller than thirteen students each. The program is interactive and technologically based, providing students with a two-year overview of teaching literacy that cannot be beaten.
University of South Florida
College Choice Score: 90.70
Average Net Price: $11,398
The University of South Florida, an award-winning public research institution, offers dozens of integrative online programs. The university offers over 100 majors throughout 14 colleges and offers a variety of degrees entirely online. The Master of Arts in Reading K-12 is designed for candidates who already hold teaching certificates in similar areas and is a great option for individuals seeking to work outside of the traditional classroom setting.
This program requires roughly 36 credit hours, including a hands-on practicum to give students real-world experience in literacy instruction. It can be completed in roughly two years, with most courses taking on synchronous, collaborative formats. Required classes include:
- Foundations of Educational Research
- Literature for a Diverse Society
- History and Foundations in Reading and STEM Disciplines
- Cognition, Comprehension, and Content Area Reading: Remediation of Reading Problems
One of the more affordable options for distance learners, the College of Education at the University of South Florida offers students access to dozens of scholarships. For example, the Velma Pate Thomas Scholarship is awarded to full-time female students, while the Craig L. Johnson Endowed Memorial Scholarship is granted annually to applicants with a long-term passion for education.
University of Missouri
College Choice Score: 89.58
Average Net Price: $16,317
The University of Missouri is located in Columbia, MO and offers a whopping 90 different degree programs entirely online. The 30-credit Master of Education in Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum offers students the ability to specialize in literacy education, and is ideal for aspiring language arts teachers, special education teachers, and reading specialists. The degree can be completed in less than two years, even when pursued on a part-time basis.
The flexible curricula of this program enables students to tailor their electives toward their future career plans, with a variety of degree pathways available. Students can take classes in special areas, such as pedagogy and human development, to help strengthen their understanding of teaching literacy. Required courses include:
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
- Language Acquisition and Development
- Foundations of Reading Instruction
- Teaching Writing and Reading in Content Areas
An additional bonus of enrolling at the University of Missouri is that online students pay the same tuition rates as those enjoyed by on-campus, in-state students (usually around less than $400 per credit hour). The school is ranked as one of the best for veterans, according to U.S. News and World Report, and is nationally recognized for its top online degrees.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
College Choice Score: 89.12
Average Net Price: $18,348
The University of Massachusetts at Lowell offers a range of graduate degrees, with over 40 options available both on-campus and online. While the Master of Education in Reading and Language does not lead to initial teaching licensure, it does allow candidates with existing certificates to upgrade to professional licensure. This ten-class program includes a multi-part practicum that trains students on how to work with developing readers who are from diverse populations or possess reading-related disabilities.
With over 17,000 students studying on-campus and online each year, the University of Massachusetts must offer a range of course formats. Students will learn both synchronously and asynchronously in this top program, but all students will enjoy a low student-to-faculty ratio of just 17:1. While all courses are highly interactive and crucial for creating successful future teachers, key courses include:
- Young Adult Literature
- Theory and Research: Reading and Language
- Teaching Reading in Content Area
- Educating Diverse Populations
Each student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell enjoys a student-to-faculty ratio of just 17:1, and benefits from close instruction by skilled instructors, many of whom are current teachers. This school has been continuously recognized by ranking affiliates like Forbes for providing a high return on investment. Students receive a quality education at a public school price and graduate ready to enter directly into the workforce.
College Choice Score: 87.83
Average Net Price: $15,987
SUNY Buffalo, also part of the state of New York public education system, enrolls over 30,000 students each year. With 300 different graduate programs, SUNY Buffalo has the distinct reputation of being the school with more academic programs than any other in New England. Many of these, including the Master of Arts in Education in Literacy Education, are available online. This is ideal for candidates who are already working full-time or those who want to graduate as quickly as possible.
Only 30 credits, in addition to a capstone project, are required for graduation from this program. While studies here do not lead to teacher certification, the program provides students with the coursework necessary to achieve their professional goals. Students will take classes such as:
- Strategic Teaching and Reading Processes
- Literacy Acquisition and Instruction PreK-12
- Childhood Literacy Methods
- Literacy and Technology
This program can be completed in just two or three semesters of full-time studies. Students are permitted to explore other departments, with 60 other graduate programs available from which to choose. The school offers well over 50 clubs and organizations, many available to online students and is ranked within the top 50 Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report.
University of Dayton
College Choice Score: 87.13
Average Net Price: $34,019
The University of Dayton is a private Roman Catholic university located in Dayton, OH. This school is large, enrolling nearly 11,000 students every year, but manages to keep class sizes small with a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The Master of Science in Education in Literacy requires 24 credit hours of study and prepares students to assess reading difficulties and prepare reading instruction for students of all ages.
This graduate degree requires only 24 credits for degree completion, with significant time dedicated to assessment and professional development strategies. The literacy program is one of eight graduate programs offered at the University of Dayton. Required courses for the major include:
- Assessment and Evaluation of Reading Difficulties
- The Writing Classroom
- Issues, Trends, and Research in Reading
- Professional Development of Teacher Leaders
This affordable program offers a 50 percent discount for full-time Catholic educators or students of Lalanne. The Lalanne Program is one that offers graduate education students the ability to live in a communal setting with fellow teachers, and also provides a living stipend and loan deferment. While not always an option for online students, this unique feature gives graduate students a proud community of teachers and learners to rely on for academic and emotional support.
University of Cincinnati
College Choice Score: 87.13
Average Net Price: $19,978
Founded in 1906, the University of Cincinnati is a large school with a small, collaborative feel. Easily one of the best online Master’s in Literacy and Second Language Studies can be found within this school’s online campus. This program emphasizes the importance of developing instructional strategies for English language learners and is designed for aspiring teachers who wish to work with diverse populations.
Each student must complete a semester-long practicum experience at a local school, as well as a comprehensive research paper. Students also have the opportunity to engage in cross-curricular exploration and study, with the ability to concentrate in various additional areas. Required courses for the major include:
- Foundations of First and Second Language Learning
- Literacy as a Linguistic and Cultural Tool
- Content-Based Second Language Education
- Applied Linguistics
This program has more concentration areas than any other on this list. Students may choose from options such as Adult and International Teaching, Pre-K through 16 Literacy and Learning Instruction, and more. The program in Literacy can be completed in less than two years and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, along with multiple other certifying agencies.
The University of West Florida
College Choice Score: 86.88
Average Net Price: $11,175
The University of West Florida is located in Pensacola, FL, and offers a superior online Masters in Reading Education. This program is specifically tailored to the International Reading Association’s standards and housed at a public institution that caters to over 13,000 students every year. The university, which offers 18 online graduate programs and is the third-largest campus in the Florida state university system, prepares nearly 50,000 students for professional success every year.
This program, which emphasizes the development of tailored classroom instruction, includes a research-based capstone and enables students to pass statewide teacher certification examinations. A practicum is also required. Other classes that students may take include:
- Methods of Advanced Language Arts and Writing
- Literature for Children and Young Adults
- Classroom Reading Assessments
- Foundations of Middle and Secondary Literacy
The University of West Florida prides itself on its incredibly low tuition rates, which start at just $295 per credit hour for in-state students. The asynchronous Reading program can be started at any time throughout the year and enables students to graduate in less than two years. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 22:1, students are supported by quality faculty who want nothing more than to watch their students – and their students’ students – succeed.
University of Memphis
College Choice Score: 86.54
Average Net Price: $13,291
The University of Memphis was founded as a teacher’s college in 1912 and continues to be a leader in training future educators today. The school has two unique laboratories on campus, in which aspiring teachers can observe and teach in a real-world setting. This university offers a fully online Master of Science in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership with a concentration in Literacy that can help candidates achieve teaching certification in the state of Tennessee.
In addition to 30 credit hours of classroom instruction, students are also required to complete a research practicum and a three-credit master’s project. Students are supported by small class sizes (most enjoy a student-to-faculty ratio of just 14:1) and are never required to visit campus for any of their classes. Sample coursework includes:
- Family Literacy
- The Nature of Knowledge
- Research Methods
With over 200 campus organizations and clubs, the University of Memphis is a great place to get involved – even as an online student. This school is community engaged and is ranked as one of the top schools in the country for placing students in internships and other field-based experiences, according to U.S. News and World Report. The school has exceptional educational quality and dedicated faculty, employing globally-recognized researchers, leaders, and other professionals.
University of Florida-Online
College Choice Score: 85.56
Average Net Price: $11,976
The University of Florida – Online is an innovative university that has been repeatedly recognized for its gains in green construction and environmental sustainability. In addition to accolades for its forward-thinking environmental policies, this university also offers a range of flexible online programs. Two online graduate degrees are available – a Master of Education and a Master of Arts, both in reading education.
The Master of Education includes a practicum and leads to teacher certification, while the Master of Arts does not include a practicum and ends instead in a research project and thesis. Regardless of the track, required courses include:
- Diagnosis of Reading Difficulties
- Remediation of Reading Difficulties
- Multicultural Children’s Literature
- Technology and Media Literacy
Both reading programs offered by the University of Florida – Online are designed to equip teachers with the skills necessary to encourage the development of successful, lifelong readers. These programs have been repeatedly recognized for their quality, flexibility, and convenience. Most students complete their studies in just four semesters, allowing them to progress rapidly into successful careers.
University of Northern Iowa
College Choice Score: 85.54
Average Net Price: $14,831
Located in Cedar Falls, IA, the University of Northern Iowa has offered impressive teacher education programs since 1876. Today, the university offers over 50 other graduate degrees and enrolls 2,000 students in its online campus alone. The Master of Arts in Education in Literacy Education offers students the ability to complete their courses in a diverse way, with video conferencing and other online learning platforms serving as supplements to traditional instruction.
This program’s curriculum is tailored toward licensed teachers, with three specific tracks available: secondary reading, reading specialist, and reading education K-8. Upon enrollment, students are assigned to specific cohorts, requiring them to move with the same group of students throughout their studies. Students also benefit from a curriculum that is focused on research and modern teaching methodologies, taking classes such as:
- Methods and Materials in Literacy Education
- Language Development and Variability
- Educational Research
- Issues and Trends in Curriculum
Tuition in this program is low, starting at just $486 per credit hour, and supplemented by additional financial aid opportunities like scholarships and grants. For example, the Stanley and Norma Reeves Scholarship is just one of many awards specifically available to Continuing and Distance Education students, making a college degree more flexible as well as more affordable.
College Choice Score: 85.27
Average Net Price: $20,767
Canisius College was founded in Buffalo in 1870 as a Jesuit institution. This private institution is just a few miles from Lake Erie, and also operates a vivacious online campus. This school offers students a Literacy Education program that teaches educators how to teach young readers about more than just basic reading skills. Curricula emphasizes the importance of interpretation and articulation and includes significant practical experiences.
The Literacy Education program, housed within the School of Education and Human Services, is nationally recognized by multiple professional organizations. The curriculum of this program prepares students to work with students from birth through sixth grade, or those in grades fifth through twelfth grade. Highlighted courses include:
- Adolescent Literacy
- Teaching Reading in Classrooms of Diversity
- Emergent Literacy
- Role of the Literacy Specialist
Students in this program have access to a range of resources, including free tutoring through the school’s Literacy Center, in which they can act as tutors or students. The school also prides itself on its dedication to individual student learning, offering a student-to-faculty ratio of just 11:1. Many students engage in one-on-one work with faculty members while they are enrolled, participating in research, casework, and other high-quality hands-on activities.
Minnesota State University, Mankato
College Choice Score: 85.10
Average Net Price: $13,812
Minnesota State University, Mankato’s program reflects the latest trends and research in early-intervention reading instruction. This program is designed for potential K-12 educators and addresses multiple literature content areas. It leads to K-12 reading licensure in Minnesota and prepares students to work with culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms.
Minnesota State University prides itself on offering a reading curriculum that is held to international standards and has a profound commitment to diversity. Students will engage in significant coursework in areas such as Response to Intervention, content area reading instruction, and assessment, with sample class titles including:
- Analysis of Research in Reading
- Scholarly Writing
- Preparing Students to Read
- Instructional Strategies and Remediation
With a total enrollment of around 15,000 students, Minnesota State University, Mankato is one of the oldest of its kind. It has offered exceptional programs since 1868, and its Master of Science in Reading, with a student-to-faculty ratio of just 23:1, is no exception. The program underscores the importance of student involvement and encourages students to get involved both within their studies and within their local communities.
College Choice Score: 84.10
Average Net Price: $21,899
Ohio University enrolls over 23,000 students each year, with nearly a quarter of these students engaging primarily in distance-learning coursework. This school is ranked within the top three percent of all higher education institutions in the world, according to the Center for World University Rankings. Like its other online programs, the online M.Ed. in Reading at Ohio University is one of a kind and is designed to prepare educators to address more than just the basics of literacy acquisition.
Before graduation from this 31 credit-hour program, each student is required to design and complete a Master’s Research Project. This project requires candidates to analyze particular issues within their chosen areas of focus and to then write a paper addressing those issues. This prepares graduates to administer assessments, conduct evaluations, and to utilize data. Other integral courses include:
- Reading Laboratory
- Children’s Literature
- Secondary Reading Instruction
- Teacher as Action Researcher
The oldest university in the state of Ohio, this program is designed to provide hands-on support to all students, regardless of how far away from campus they might live. The school hosts an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of just 18:1 and enables students to complete their studies in less than two years of study.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
College Choice Score: 83.21
Average Net Price: $12,084
Arguably one of the fastest-growing schools in the state of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte enrolls over 30,000 students within over 200 different majors of study. The university was established only in 1946 but continues to grow as it attracts more talented students. The groundbreaking Master of Education in Reading Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is designed for budding literacy experts who wish to take on roles in K-12 classrooms.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers a reading program that can be completed part-time to provide additional scheduling flexibility. Most courses are taught synchronously, requiring students to interact with faculty and other students at a specific time. Sample coursework includes:
- Writing Development and Instruction
- Multi-Literacies in a Global World: Reading and Writing Texts in New Times
- Current Issues and Practices in Literacy Education
- Research Methods
This university offers several graduate assistantships to help candidates fund their education, and offers low tuition starting at just $250 per credit hour. It is recognized as one of the Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report and has a high student retention rate of 83 percent. This figure is representative of student satisfaction, indicating the quality of education offered at this award-winning institution.
University of North Dakota
College Choice Score: 83.02
Average Net Price: $14,693
The University of North Dakota, located in Grand Forks, ND, enrolls students from all over the country in 200 fields of study. There are two online reading master’s programs available: a Master of Education and a comparable Master of Science. Both programs require 32 credit hours of study and take around two years to complete. They are designed to provide certified teachers with the foundational skills necessary to be successful in any setting.
This university, which is the oldest of its kind in the state of North Dakota, offers an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of just 21:1. The Reading Education program prepares students to teach reading and writing, as well as to engage in crucial action research. All students are required to undertake a supervised practicum experience, in addition to coursework in topics such as:
- Writing in the Classroom
- Reading in the Content Area
- Response to Intervention
- Progress Monitoring
With affordable tuition that remains the same regardless of residency, the University of North Dakota is one of the best options for busy adult learners. Each student is required to engage in an independent study or scholarly project. This flexibility in choice makes it easy for online students to complete their degrees quickly, even those who are balancing other professional and personal commitments.
College Choice Score: 81.76
Average Net Price: $22,093
Southeastern University, a private institution founded in 1935, is a small college with an enrollment of fewer than 7,000 students. This suburban school has a booming online campus, offering a superior Master of Education in Literacy Education. This degree is designed for current classroom teachers and incorporates a Christian worldview in all of its curricula.
This 36 credit-hour program can be completed in as little as 18 months, with students enjoying low tuition rates of just $375 per credit hour. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to take the reading K-12 Subject Area Exam of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam. Required and elective classes include:
- Curriculum and Diverse Learners
- Educational Research
- Foundations of Exceptional Student Education
Education is one of the most popular majors at Southeastern University, with students enjoying small class sizes with a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. In most cases, online graduate classes are even smaller. This allows students to interact closely with skilled faculty and diverse peers. As a result, the school has a high retention and student satisfaction rating and is ranked as one of the best National Universities by U.S. News and World Report.
University of Maine
College Choice Score: 81.27
Average Net Price: $15,763
Located in Orono, ME, and established in 1865, the University of Maine is a public research university with a high level of research and academic development. As one of the nation’s few “totally green” colleges, the university is able to offer interactive programs to an engaged student body. The school is ranked as one of the top public universities in the state, offering over 80 different master’s degrees to students all over the world. The Literacy Education M.Ed. is no exception.
This program emphasizes diversification, allowing students to explore their interests and take classes in unique areas like writing in schools and colleges. For students interested in studies beyond the master’s level, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Literacy Education is also available. For the stand-alone program, 33 total credit hours are required, with credits spanning the following dimensions:
- Early Literacy
- Special Education or Literacy
The University is unique in that it enrolls a huge student body, with around 20,000 students a year, but manages to keep class sizes small. The student-to-faculty ratio is just 16:1. Furthermore, out-of-state learners pay a shockingly low tuition rate of just $523 per-credit-hour, with in-state students paying significantly less. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 16:1, this school’s value cannot be matched.
University of the Cumberlands
College Choice Score: 81.27
Average Net Price: $17,619
The Master of Arts in Education with a Literacy Specialist concentration allows candidates to learn general education strategies along with a literacy certification. This private, rural school was founded in 1888 and has offered innovative, values-centered education ever since. The 30-credit hour program in Education with a Literacy Specialist P-12 endorsement allows graduate students to receive extensive experience in literacy coaching and leadership.
In addition to the Literacy Specialist concentration, this program also allows students to pursue concentrations and endorsements such as Teacher Leader and School Counseling. These offerings allow students to explore electives and other areas of interest in addition to their core coursework. Students will take classes such as:
- Reading in the Content Area
- Diagnosis of Reading Problems
- Writing Instruction in the Content Areas
- Literacy Leadership
One of the unique features of this school is its requirement that each student complete at least forty hours of community service before graduation. This requirement, known as the Leadership and Community Service Program, ensures that students are prepared to lead lives that are both ethical and responsible. Due to this and myriad other factors, like small class sizes and a range of student services, the University of the Cumberlands is ranked as one of the best National Universities in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
University of Kansas
College Choice Score: 81.07
Average Net Price: $15,411
This public research university offers nearly 400 programs throughout 13 different schools, many of which are available online. The Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading Education is designed for aspiring classroom teachers. The program has three different tracks, enabling candidates to enroll regardless of whether they are interested in reading specialist licensure, endorsement, or non-licensure.
The program takes 33 credits, with non-licensure candidates allowed to take only 30 credits in order to graduate. Each course is offered in an accelerated format, requiring only eight weeks to complete. Students will take classes such as:
- Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction
- Understanding Research in Education
- Comprehension and Study Strategies for Use with Multiple Texts
- Multicultural Education
The University of Kansas is the largest public research university in the state and is top-ranked for its high acceptance rate and willingness to meet every student’s financial needs. The university offers a range of extracurricular opportunities to online students, including study abroad, research activities, and technology services. The education department is ranked as one of the top 20 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report and is a great option for any distance learner.
Indiana University - Bloomington
College Choice Score: 81.07
Average Net Price: $12,621
Indiana University – Bloomington offers over 100 different academic majors entirely online. Among these, the M.S.Ed. in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education is among the most popular. With over 120 different online degrees to choose from at this institution, it may be tough to pick. However, this degree is a top contender, requiring only 36 credit hours to prepare students to become exceptional English or second language teachers.
Requiring 36 credits for graduation, this program allows students to take a wide range of electives to enhance their studies and prepare them for specific pathways in education. Many students choose to pursue additional certification pathways, exploring areas such as ESL/EFL teacher preparation and young adult literature. Mandated courses for graduation include:
- Instructional Issues in Language Education
- Problems in Educational Leadership
- Legal Perspectives on Education
- Philosophy of Education
Indiana University offers some of the best and most extensive resources to online students. Each distance learner has a personal success coach, writing center, expansive library system, and career center at his or her disposal. Online candidates have access to 24/7 technology support and generous financial aid, making this school a top choice for the student seeking an interactive program of study.
Eastern Kentucky University
College Choice Score: 80.74
Average Net Price: $12,255
With a main campus in quaint Richmond, KY, Eastern Kentucky University is a regionally-accredited university that is repeatedly recognized among the country’s best colleges. This school is a comprehensive university that traditionally serves first-generation college students. As a result, several support services are offered to engage students and increase their success. Additionally, students enjoy small class sizes with a student-to-faculty ratio of just 16:1 – even in the online Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Literacy.
Each course in this program of study is offered in eight-week terms, allowing students to move through courses quickly while at the same time continuing to personalize their graduation plans. Students can study at any time, engaging in assignments that build their critical thinking and action research skills. Students who hold teacher certification can apply for additional certificates and endorsements upon completion of this program. Required classes include:
- Leadership Skills for Teachers
- Curriculum for Teacher Leaders
- Leading Achievement Change
- Research for Teacher Leaders
Eastern Kentucky has been educating educators for over a century and has received multiple accolades from top-ranking affiliates like U.S. News and World Report. The school is one of the best universities offering online degrees and has also been applauded for its commitment to providing military veterans with a quality education. In fact, active duty military members receive a significant tuition discount, paying nearly $200 less per credit hour than civilian students.
Slippery Rock University
College Choice Score: 79.96
Average Net Price: $17,443
Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, offers multiple programs in education, including several in elementary education. The Master of Education in Elementary Education with a specialization in K-12 Reading is ideal for candidates seeking to become K-12 reading teachers, reading coaches, or study skills experts. Students are granted immense flexibility in designing their programs here, with a variety of elective courses in current issues, philosophy, and social foundations available, just to name a few.
With a total of 30 required credits, this program provides students the flexibility to add an additional endorsement to their degrees. The Instructional Coaching Endorsement with an emphasis in Literacy requires only three extra credits and is a great way for students to market themselves when they enter the workforce. Required classes for the major include:
- The Reading Program in the Middle/Secondary School
- Foundations of Instructional Coaching
- Literacy Assessment Analysis and Instructional Decision Making
- Historical, Psychological, and Linguistic Foundations of Literacy
This program offers out-of-state students nearly identical tuition to its in-state students, making it affordable for all students, regardless of location. Each class is small, allowing students to interact with their instructors as well as other students. Two practica are required for graduation – one in Assessment and Instruction and another in Organization and Administration.
University of Nevada, Reno
College Choice Score: 79.74
Average Net Price: $15,022
Founded in 1864 as a public land-grant university, this research-designated school is highly regarded by students, faculty, and industry authorities. The university offers a program in Literacy Studies that is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. While the program is relatively new, having been founded less than a decade ago, it remains on the edge of innovation at all times, exposing students to modern teaching strategies and theories.
This program is offered in several formats, allowing students to use audio conferencing, online discussions, video presentations, and video conferencing to help faculty and instructors communicate with each other. The program includes a required capstone project to help students apply their learning to a real-world setting, with other required courses in areas such as:
- Foundations of Reading
- Etiology and Diagnosis of Reading Problems
- Clinical Practice in Remediating Reading Problems
- Research in Reading
With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 21:1, this school is the perfect place to study literacy. Each course is high-quality and gives students the opportunity to interact closely with literacy researchers and master teachers around the country. The program is highly research-focused and was ranked as one of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report. It has also been recognized as a “Best Buy” by multiple ranking affiliates.
Concordia University, Nebraska
College Choice Score: 79.04
Average Net Price: $19,335
Concordia University – Nebraska, based in Seward, NE, is affiliated with the Lutheran Church and offers 30 different online graduate programs. The Master of Education in Literacy with a Reading Specialist concentration is designed for future educators who wish to work at either the elementary or secondary level. This program is assessment-focused, teaching educators not only how to practice the theory and instructional strategies of effective literacy education, but also how to measure them to ensure career-long success.
Each course taught in an eight-week block, and the program consists of 36 credits. This format allows students to complete their studies at an accelerated pace, if so desired, as well as to engage in significant research and practical experiences. Other required classes include:
- Reading in Middle and Secondary Schools
- Contemporary Thought in Education
- Research Evaluation and Design
- Psychological Foundations of Teaching and Learning
This program is unique in that it requires all students to create a case study in literacy before they can graduate. This field-based project allows students to engage in a classroom of their own choosing while writing a research paper and keeping a journal to allow them to reflect upon and resolve an issue within the classroom. With tuition hovering around $10,000 per year, the affordability and value of this program simply cannot be matched.
Missouri State University
College Choice Score: 78.83
Average Net Price: $14,862
Located in Springfield, MO, Missouri state university enrolls nearly 25,000 students every year. This school offers over 280 different academic majors on both its 225-acre campus and its vast digital location. Most notably, Missouri State offers a fully online program in Literacy that leads to Special Reading Teacher Certification (K-12) in the state of Missouri.
This practical program provides students with a thorough overview of crucial topics like remediation, diversity, and curriculum development. In addition, each student is required to complete an in-depth research component to give them more experience in literacy-related research. Other required classes include:
- Analysis and Correction of Difficulties in Literacy
- Diversity Issues in Literacy and Content Area Instruction
- Successful Classroom Communities to Enhance Student Learning
- Techniques of Responsive Support in the Literacy Classroom
This school is nationally recognized as providing cutting-edge, relevant programs. Forbes recognized Missouri State as one of the country’s best public schools, while Niche, another ranking affiliate, ranked it as one of the best teachers’ colleges. The school offers intensive preparation and generous financial aid, with online students eligible for comparable scholarships as on-campus students. For example, the Harry J. Siceluff Memorial Award is available every year to help online education students fund their studies and to reimburse examination expenses.
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
College Choice Score: 77.92
Average Net Price: $13,751
The Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading and Writing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is one of many innovative online degrees offered on this virtual campus. The school also offers education-related master’s degrees in topics such as Early Childhood Education, eLearning, and School Library Studies.
This program is one of the best tailored to be offered online, helping educators to complete their studies while working full-time. Most students (95 percent) work in a classroom while completing about two classes per semester, allowing them to graduate in just over two years. Full-time candidates can complete in about a year. Required classes include:
- Reading Development
- Oral and Written Language Acquisition
- Literacy Assessment and Instruction
- Primary Literacy
This program offers two program tracks. One track focuses on reading and writing with the addition of a Colorado Department of Education teaching endorsement, while the other includes a concentration in reading and writing and enables students to customize the rest of their studies. This kind of flexibility means that students can tailor their studies toward their career goals, and not the other way around. The reading program also enables students to apply for a range of scholarships, with six available to students in the reading major alone.
George Mason University
College Choice Score: 76.48
Average Net Price: $18,032
With over ten online and hybrid degrees in Curriculum and Instruction alone, George Mason University knows a thing or two about providing quality distance-based programs to future educators. The Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning program with a concentration in Literacy: Reading Specialist is designed for graduate students with hectic schedules, many of whom are also working full-time.
This program, hybrid in nature, can be completed in about two years of full-time study. Roughly 75 percent of all courses are offered entirely online, with several in-person courses taught at one of three George Mason locations. Graduates are eligible for reading specialist licensure, as the program includes a supervised practicum. Other courses include:
- Education and Culture
- Inquiry Into Practice
- How Students Learn
- Educational Change
While this program charges out-of-state students slightly more for tuition than it does for in-state students, online graduate students in the College of Education and Human Development receive a unique benefit in that they enjoy a special tuition discount. Future educators pay almost half the price of other out-of-state graduate students and are also eligible for financial aid. Online students also receive access to all George Mason resources and libraries.
College Choice Score: 75.68
Average Net Price: $18,067
Rowan was one of the first schools in the country to train teachers on how to work with students with reading disabilities. Located in Glassboro, NJ, this school is considered a pioneer in the field of literacy education, for this reason as well as many others. The school offers 60 different master’s degrees, many of which are available online, and was founded in 1923 specifically to teach teachers.
The Master of Arts in Reading Education with a specialization in Reading Specialist can be completed entirely online, as well as in an accelerated format. Six semester hours of clinical experiences in reading are required, as is a comprehensive exam and a thesis. Other course requirements include:
- Administration and Supervision of School Reading Programs
- Clinical Experiences in Reading
- Content Area Literacy
- Correction of Reading Problems
Within the past 15 years, Rowan University has made great progress toward becoming a nationally-acclaimed university. This school is considered one of the 100 Best Buys in Public Colleges and Universities by Kiplinger’s and has also been ranked within the Top Tier of Northern Regional Universities by U.S. News and World Report. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 17:1, students feel supported and encouraged by their faculty, with the vast majority going on to be highly successful educators and literacy coaches.
College Choice Score: 75.23
Average Net Price: $29,276
Located in scenic Cambridge, MA, Lesley University was founded specifically to train future educators. When the school opened its doors in 1909, it began by offering innovative programs in education and has since expanded to train almost 5,000 graduate students a year. Among its exceptional programs in education are unique majors such as Creative Arts in Learning and a diverse Master of Education in Language and Literacy. The latter is one of the university’s 20 exceptional online programs.
Requiring 30 credits for graduation, along with a three-credit capstone, this program is designed to be culturally responsive, training educators to respond to all levels of classroom challenges. Each course lasts eight-weeks, allowing candidates to move quickly through the curriculum and to graduate on time. Classes cover topics such as:
- Content Literacy
Lesley University is highly affordable, and unique in that all students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Grants and scholarships are available, including a merit scholarship specifically for graduate education students. This program is designed to prepare educators for working with diverse students, ingraining cultural responsiveness and flexibility throughout each course. In addition, each student must prepare a capstone project in which he or she designs and implements a literacy-centered professional development lesson.
West Virginia University
College Choice Score: 73.98
Average Net Price: $10,814
Located in Morgantown, WV, West Virginia University is a college with a modest tuition rate but a proud tradition of providing excellent education to students both near and far. The College of Education offers a Master of Arts in Literacy Education in a fully online setting, allowing most candidates to complete their degrees in less than two years.
Requiring 30 credit hours to complete, this program leads to pre-K through adult reading specialist certification in the state of West Virginia. The curriculum is heavily influenced by the standards devised by the International Literacy Association, requiring students to take classes such as:
- Specialized Literacy Professional
- Reading and Writing in Elementary Schools
- Content Area Literacy Instruction
- Developing Reading Interests
West Virginia University has repeatedly been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for providing some of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs. Online students receive access to some of the most notable academic support services and extracurricular opportunities in the country. For example, the university houses the Center for Service and Learning, which provides students with course credit for engaging in community service – something that can come in handy for future educators with a passion for service.