Best Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy Degrees

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If you have a passion for helping students of all ages and abilities learn how to read, one of the best online master’s in reading and literacy might be for you.

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.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy Degrees

Rank School Location
1 University of Georgia Athens, GA
2 SUNY Albany Albany, NY
3 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
4 Texas A&M University Killeen, TX
5 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
6 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
7 University of Missouri Columbia, MO
8 University of Massachusetts Lowell Lowell, MA
9 SUNY Buffalo Buffalo, NY
10 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
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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?

Best Master's in Reading and Literacy Degrees Badge

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.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Georgia
    Location

    Athens, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  2. SUNY Albany
    Location

    Albany, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  3. Loyola Marymount University
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  4. Texas A&M University
    Location

    Killeen, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  5. Hamline University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  6. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  7. University of Missouri
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  8. University of Massachusetts Lowell
    Location

    Lowell, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  9. SUNY Buffalo
    Location

    Buffalo, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  10. University of Dayton
    Location

    Dayton, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

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