Wilkes University

M.S. in Education for Literacy with PDE Reading Specialist Certification

 M.S. in Education for Literacy with PDE Reading Specialist Certification

Take the lead in closing the achievement gap.

Data from Pennsylvania System School Assessment shows that on average, 50 percent of children are at or below the basic level of literacy proficiency required for their grade area. Enroll in Wilkes University's 30-credit online master's degree in literacy with Pa. Reading Specialist certification to advance your career in literacy while learning teaching strategies to reach all students.


Our mission is to provide high-quality, research-based, intensive preparation and reading specialist certification to future literacy leaders by stressing the art and science behind exceptional 21st century teaching, learning, and leading.

By combining theory and application, you will learn how to assess, diagnose and teach students to be active listeners, speakers, readers and writers. In addition, you will leave the program with the most current research-based tools necessary to facilitate literacy initiatives in your own school district.

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Learn how to:

  • Design a curriculum that will meet the needs of diverse learners, particularly those who experience difficulty with literacy
  • Lead professional learning experiences to aid teachers in your district
  • Integrate a variety of digital and print materials that will engage and motivate learners of all skill levels

Online Format

This program is conveniently conducted online with required field hours completed right where you reside. 130 field hours are embedded in the curriculum so you can apply what you learn to the classroom.

Pa. Reading Specialist Certification

Upon successful completion of the master's degree curriculum, students may apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Reading Specialist certification. Candidates interested in the certification must hold a valid Pennsylvania Instructional I or II teaching certificate.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit:
  • An online application
  • Official undergraduate transcripts
  • Copy of teaching certificate
  • Two completed graduate recommendation forms


The program uses current research and the newest PDE, ILA and IDA standards to prepare students as building and district literacy leaders. Click here for a course checklist. Click here for detailed course descriptions. All courses are 3 credits.

  • LIT 501 - Foundations of Literacy Acquisition and Development (Reading and Writing)
  • LIT 502 - Advanced Linguistics: Language Foundations for Teachers of Reading, Writing, and Spelling
  • LIT 503 - Applying Brain Research to Literacy Development and Instruction
  • LIT 504 - Best Practices in the Assessment and Remediation of Struggling Readers and Writers- Part I (10 hours of field experience)
  • LIT 505 - Best Practices in the Assessment and Remediation of Struggling Readers and Writers-Part II (10 hours of field experience)
  • LIT 506 - Literacy Development and Literature for Adolescents (10 hours of field experience)
  • LIT 507 - Introduction to the World of Literature for Children and Adolescents
  • LIT 508 - Literacy and Learning in the Content Areas
  • LIT 509 - Best Practices in Contemporary Literacy Leadership
  • LIT 510 - Literacy Education Practicum (100 hours)