Best 20 Master’s in Reading and Literacy in 2022

April 11, 2022 | bestvalue

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Literacy is a fundamental skill needed to function in the world, but the statistics are staggering for childhood literacy. According to the Literacy Project, one in four children in the US never learn how to read. Many of these children benefit from having an instructional coordinator who specializes in reading and literacy. We expect the demand for specialists to grow over the next 10 years. These professionals earn an average median pay of $64,450 annually.

What Does A Reading Specialist Do?

A reading specialist can be a separate instructor for students who struggle to read, or may work as instructional coordinators for an entire school. Most reading specialists work in a grade school setting. However, some may work at the Middle or High School level with students who are especially struggling.

Specific skills analyzed by reading specialists include fluency, reading comprehension, and decoding. Many reading specialists also perform response to intervention (RTI) assessments to determine which students could benefit from more focused teaching. They take this analysis to school administrators to create curricula to meet the needs of the students and serve as mentors within a school or district.

What Education Does A Reading Or Literacy Specialist Need?

Most specialists, including reading and literacy specialists, are expected to have a graduate-level education and already be licensed teachers. Many universities offer postgraduate certification in reading and literacy. Post-graduate certificates allow students who have already earned a master’s degree to get an extra certification in a subject in less time than it would take to earn a second degree. 

The following article covers schools offering traditional or hybrid degree programs. If you’re interested in earning your master’s degree online, please use our degree-finding search tools.

We ranked a list of 20 schools from across the country that offer master’s degrees in literacy or reading. We graded each school on specific criteria that included program credit hour length and cost. Check out the results below. 

The Best 20 Value Master’s In Reading And Literacy

1. Texas Woman’s University – Texas – 86 points

Texas Woman’s University offers two degree options for a Master’s in Reading Education. Students may choose to earn a master of arts or a master of education. They offer classes in a blended format, with 60% of course work offered online. There is no GRE required, however students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in previous undergraduate or graduate coursework. TWU has a graduate enrollment population of 5,288.

  • Program cost: $9,108
  • Credit hours: 33

2. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh – Wisconsin – 77 points

The University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh offers a master’s of science in education with a focus on literacy. Coursework in this program meets the Wisconsin licensure standards for reading teachers and reading specialists. The hybrid courses in this program meet in person about 50% of the time with the rest of the coursework completed online. UWO has a graduate enrollment of 1,254.

  • Program cost: $8,640
  • Credit hours: 30

3. University of South Dakota – South Dakota – 71 points 

The Master of Arts in elementary education at the University of South Dakota offers specialization as a reading specialist / literacy coach. Students may choose between non-thesis and thesis plans. As a graduation requirement, students must take the Praxis exam for reading specialists. USD has 2,445 enrolled graduate students.

  • Program cost: $11,730
  • Credit hours: 30

3. Cal State East Bay – California – 71 points

Cal State East Bay can recommend a student to receive reading and literacy added authorization from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing upon completion of their master of science in reading and literacy degree. They require all reading specialists in the state of California to have this authorization. Interested applicants must have a valid teaching credential, and bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 in their upper-division undergraduate courses. CSEB has a graduate population of 2,862. 

  • Program cost: $12,642
  • Credit hours: 30 

5. University of Central Oklahoma – Oklahoma – 66 points

The Jackson College of Graduate Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma offers a master of education in reading. Graduates of this program are eligible for certification as a pre-K – 12 reading specialist under the guidelines of the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Students in this program will also take part in community outreach through the UCO Reading Clinic. UCO has a graduate enrollment of 1,482.

  • Program cost: $11,186
  • Credit hours: 34

5. Wilmington University – Delaware – 66 points

Wilmington University offers a master of education in reading with courses available in person or online.  In-person classes are available at the Wilson Graduate Center, Dover, and Georgetown. This program is recognized by the International Reading Association/International Literacy Program. WilmU has 5,428 enrolled graduate students.

  • Program cost: $13,176
  • Credit hours: 35 

7. Indiana University of Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania – 58 points

The Department of Professional Studies in Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a master of education in literacy. Students may achieve candidacy status after completing 12 credits with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Up to 6 graduate credits may be transferred into the program. IUP’s graduate student enrollment is 2,068.

  • Program cost: $15,480
  • Credit hours: 30

8. Bridgewater State University – Massachusetts – 57 points

Bridgewater State University offers a master of education in reading program offered on campus, or as hybrid courses. Graduate students may be eligible for funding opportunities. Applicants must provide 3  letters of recommendation and have a cumulative GPA of 2.8. GRE scores are not required to apply. BSU has 1,418 enrolled graduate students. They also offer off-site cohorts for local school districts at a reduced cost. They also have National Recognition from the International Literacy Association.

  • Program cost: $14,250
  • Credit hours: 30

9. Missouri State University Springfield – Missouri – 49 points

The fully online Traditional Master’s in Literacy Program at Missouri State University – Springfield includes coursework needed to get Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education K-12 Special Reading Teacher Certification. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.75 in their undergraduate coursework. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement may take the GRE or 9 hours as a non-degree-seeking student prior to being accepted. MSU has a graduate enrollment of 3,652.

  • Program cost: $11,600
  • Credit hours: 36

10. National Louis University – Illinois – 48 points

National Louis University offers a master’s in reading education that is campus-based or through a hybrid virtual classroom. There are two endorsements available: the reading specialist endorsement or the reading teacher endorsement. Students must already hold a professional educator license, regardless of the endorsement they wish to seek. NLU as a graduate enrollment of 3,642.

  • Program cost: $23,290
  • Credit hours: 32-34

11. Western New Mexico University – New Mexico – 41 points 

Western New Mexico University offers a master of arts in teaching with a specialization in reading education. Courses within this program meet the required state competencies to become a reading specialist. Some students may receive credit for prior learning. Besides completing the required credit hours, all students must pass the Praxis teaching exam. WNMU has 979 enrolled graduate students.

  • Program cost: $10,332
  • Credit hours: 36

11. Florida Atlantic University – Florida – 41 points

The Department of Teaching and Learning at Florida Atlantic University provides a master’s degree in reading education. Students entering this program must be certified as teachers prior to completing one third of the credits toward the degree. Students must have both their undergraduate transcripts and GRE scores. There are 5,321 graduate students enrolled at FAU. 

  • Program cost: $13,392
  • Credit hours: 36

13. Arkansas Tech University – Arkansas – 37 points

Arkansas Tech University provides a master of education degree in K-12 literacy. They offer courses in this program at the Russellville campus and online. Up to 9 hours of graduate credit with a GPA of B or better may be transferred into the program. In order to be admitted unconditionally, applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in their undergraduate coursework. ATU has 814 enrolled graduate students. 

  • Program cost: $10,512
  • Credit hours: 36

14. Bowie State University – Maryland – 28 points

The Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Department at Bowie State University awards a master of education in reading education. In order to get reading specialist certification in the state of Maryland, students must have a completed degree and three years teaching experience. Applicants must have a current valid teaching certificate, but are not required to submit GRE scores. BSU has 944 graduate students.

  • Program cost: $12,690
  • Credit hours: 36

14. Bowling Green State University – Ohio – 28 points

The master of education in reading program at Bowling Green State University gives educators the opportunity to add the Ohio P-12 reading endorsement to their teaching license. Hybrid courses are available throughout the year. Full-time students May complete this program within one calendar year. They do not require GRE scores. BGSU has a graduate enrollment population of 2,630.

  • Program cost: $16,020
  • Credit hours: 36

16.  Marshall University – West Virginia – 27 points

Marshall University offers a master of arts in literacy education. Completion of this program is a pathway to receiving a reading specialist endorsement from WVDE. They offer courses face-to-face and online. Interested applicants must have an undergraduate teaching degree with a GPA of 2.7 or higher and a valid teaching license. Marshall University has 3,437 enrolled graduate students.

  • Program cost: $17,892
  • Credit hours: 36

17. Grand Valley State University – Michigan – 20 points

The College of Education at Grand Valley State University provides a master of education in literacy studies. They offer courses in hybrid and online formats with individual courses ranging in length from 6 to 15 weeks. Secondary endorsements include elementary and secondary reading programs and K-12 reading specialist. GVSU has 2,921 graduate students currently enrolled.

  • Program cost: $25,848
  •  Credit hours: 36 

18. Jackson State University – Mississippi – 19 points

The Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Jackson State University offers a master of science in reading education. Besides passing their degree program, students must also pass the Praxis II reading specialist exam with a required score of 157. It will require those who fail the exam to take an additional course before trying again. JSU has 1,868 enrolled graduate students.

  • Program cost: $19,692
  • Credit hours: 36

19. SUNY Buffalo State – New York – 18 points

SUNY Buffalo State offers a master of science in education with a literacy specialist focus from birth to grade 12. Upon completion of the program, the college can recommend a student for NYS teacher certification. They may offer this program at other SUNY campuses across the state. SUNY Buffalo State has a graduate enrollment population of 1,011.

  • Program cost: $16,956
  • Credit hours: 36

20. University of North Carolina at Pembroke – North Carolina – 10 points

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke offers a master of arts in reading education. Students may choose to present a thesis or portfolio as their culminating product of the program. Interested applicants must have a valid teaching license and a minimum of one year teaching experience, and a GPA of at least 3.0 on all previous undergraduate work. UNCP has 1345 enrolled graduate students.

  • Program cost: $30,276
  • Credit hours: 36

If you are interested in fully online master’s in reading and literacy programs, please use our degree finder tool to find the program that is right for you.

Our Ranking Methodology

We ranked a list of 20 schools across the United States offering master’s degrees in reading and literacy. 40% of the rank comprised estimated in-state program cost, with data taken directly from each school’s website. Tuition data did not include other costs such as transportation or housing. Program length, represented by credit hours, comprised 40% and this data was also taken directly from each school’s website. The final 20% included graduate enrollment population with information taken from the National Center for Education Statistics. It was a 100 point scale.

Reporting Errors

Employees of the schools mentioned above may reach out to us directly to report errors in our data. We will work swiftly to make any corrections.

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