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Reading

Master of Education

This program is approved by the State of Delaware, is nationally recognized and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) under NCATE Standards (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education) and meets the International Literacy Association (ILA) standards at the Reading Specialist level.

THIS IS A DELAWARE LICENSURE/CERTIFICATION PROGRAM WITH CONTENT KNOWLEDGE AND PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS. Students taking courses to satisfy certification requirements are personally responsible for verifying with the Delaware Department of Education (or the appropriate licensure/certification authority in another state) that such course work is applicable and acceptable. Students are also responsible for meeting all state-mandated testing requirements and/or teaching experience requirements, and for applying for credentials.


Program Purpose

The Master of Education in Reading prepares teachers for certification as a Reading Specialist in grades K-12. Reading specialists must demonstrate the ability to produce high levels of student achievement in literacy. Literacy requires an understanding of reading and writing intertwined with the ability to interpret critically and apply new information to existing knowledge. Every school should have access to Reading Specialists who have specialized training related to addressing reading difficulties and who can give guidance to classroom teachers in language arts, writing, and content area reading.

Program Competencies

The program competencies are the ILA (International Literacy Association) Standards, summarized below, and can be accessed in their entirety through the ILA’s website.

The program develops reading experts who have demonstrated mastery in:

Standard 1. Theoretical/ Foundational

Candidates understand the theoretical and evidence-based foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction. Specifically, candidates:

1.1: Understand major theories and empirical research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and sociocultural foundations of reading and writing development, processes, and components, including word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading–writing connections

1.2: Understand the historically shared knowledge of the profession and changes over time in the perceptions of reading and writing development, processes, and components

Standard 2. Curriculum and Instruction

Candidates use instructional approaches, materials, and an integrated, comprehensive, balanced curriculum to support student learning in reading and writing. Specifically, candidates:

2.1: Use foundational knowledge to design or implement an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced curriculum. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]

2.2: Use appropriate and varied instructional approaches, including those that develop word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading–writing connections. [McKenna and Stahl (2009) define reading as including word recognition, language comprehension, and strategic knowledge (see the Glossary for their definition of cognitive model of reading).

2.3: Use a wide range of texts (e.g., narrative, expository, and poetry) from traditional print, digital, and online resources

Standard 3. Assessment and Evaluation

Candidates use a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading and writing instruction. Specifically, candidates

3.1: Understand types of assessments and their purposes, strengths, and limitations

3.2: Select, develop, administer, and interpret assessments, both traditional print and electronic, for specific purposes. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]

Standard 4. Diversity

Candidates create and engage their students in literacy practices that develop awareness, understanding, respect, and a valuing of differences in our society. Specifically, candidates:

4.1: Recognize, understand, and value the forms of diversity that exist in society and their importance in learning to read and write. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]

4.2: Use a literacy curriculum and engage in instructional practices that positively impact students’ knowledge, beliefs, and engagement with the features of diversity.

4.3: Develop and implement strategies to advocate for equity.

Standard 5. Literate Environment

Candidates create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge, instructional practices, approaches and methods, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessments. Specifically, candidates

5.1: Design the physical environment to optimize students’ use of traditional print, digital, and online resources in reading and writing instruction

5.2: Design a social environment that is low risk and includes choice, motivation, and scaffolded support to optimize students’ opportunities for learning to read and write. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]

Standard 6. Professional Learning and Leadership

Candidates recognize the importance of, demonstrate, and facilitate professional learning and leadership as a career-long effort and responsibility. Specifically, candidates

6.1: Demonstrate foundational knowledge of adult learning theories and related research about organizational change, professional development, and school culture

6.2: Display positive dispositions related to their own reading and writing and the teaching of reading and writing, and pursue the development of individual professional knowledge and behaviors. [This element deals with positive attitudes not only with colleagues but also with community members, parents and guardians, and so forth.]

6.3: Participate in, design, facilitate, lead, and evaluate effective and differentiated professional development programs.

Outcomes Assessment

The assessment of outcomes consists of multiple measures. Grades on assignments and for courses are the first level of assessment. The course goals, learning outcomes, and assignments are designed to address the measurement of program and graduation competencies. The Knowledge of Reading Test (KRT) must be taken online during either MRD 7920, Practicum in Reading, or MRD 7950, Seminar in Reading Research. Other assessment measures include the observation of application of knowledge in practical settings and alumni surveys that query such items as preparation levels for careers, preparation for passage of PRAXIS II, and life-long learning activities. PRAXIS II (5301 Reading Specialist) must be taken and passed (score of 164) prior to receiving a grade in MRD 7950. It is a graduation requirement.

Program Design

The Master of Education in Reading program was designed to meet four sets of professional standards: Delaware Professional Teaching Standards (DPTS), National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and International Literacy Association (ILA). Students who complete the program are eligible for a State of Delaware Certificate as a Reading Specialist. Candidates are required to register for MED 6102, E-Folio as the initial course in the program as this course will allow them to document various course requirements needed to satisfy program competencies.

When compared to other current graduate programs in reading, four unique features are evident. First, the reading practicum is six (6) credits and must be completed over the length of a full semester. This practicum is in addition to another course in diagnosis and remediation which many institutions view as a practicum experience. A second difference is in the presentation of diagnosis, assessment and correction as one six-credit course. This allows candidates to see the complete process with the same individual. Most institutions offer two separate three-credit courses. The third, and most unique requirement, is the inclusion of field experience in content area classrooms in a combined study of strategies and application of those strategies. Many programs have a content area reading course, but not one that requires field experience in content area classrooms. Finally, candidates must participate in local, state and/or national professional organizations.

Candidates in this program are required to collaborate and partner with teachers, administrators, specialists, and parents in assessment of reading, instruction in reading, designing reading programs, and conducting research in reading. Candidates, then, develop partnerships with a wide network of parties to support reading achievement in the school, home, and community as learning environments.

This program is designed to serve students with several career opportunities:

15 or 18 course credits for a cluster of graduate study in reading

35 credits are required for the master’s degree. Subsequently, candidates may apply for the Reading Specialist certificate through the Department of Education. Documentation of a passing PRAXIS II score (164) is required.

An exit interview with the Program Chair or an advisor is required.

Program Requirements

A current valid United States teaching certificate is required for admission to this program.

Completion of the degree includes successful completion of core courses, clinical courses, and a research course. Fifteen (15) semester credits of core courses in language, literacy, content area reading, literature and non-fiction materials for children and adolescents, and measurement, accountability and student learning are required. The required clinical sequence includes twenty (20) semester credits with a minimum of 250 clock hours of practice. All of the core courses require some collaboration and practice in schools. The research seminar is three (3) semester hours and includes analyses of research and conducting research. Most MRD courses require interaction with children and/or teachers and paraprofessionals at multiple grade levels.

The clinical component requires candidates to arrange for time to be spent in elementary and secondary schools, so that they can become familiar with classrooms and the learning environment K-12. In addition, time must be arranged to work with other teachers at the elementary and secondary levels, specialists, parents, and community organizations. Experience serving as a resource person to other professionals in middle and secondary schools is required. Case studies of individuals and groups, analyses of classrooms of students, instructional planning and delivery for individuals, groups, and classrooms are all requirements. Participation in the reading clinic is required as part of the diagnosis and assessment course (MRD 7903). A course grade no lower than “B” must be achieved in this course. A final component requires candidates to attend school board meetings and be affiliated with either a local, state or national professional reading organization.

A research project is required. This research project may be qualitative or quantitative and designed for a classroom, school, or a district level. The final two courses, MRD 7902 and MRD 7950, may not be taken concurrently without prior approval from Program Chair. An electronic portfolio is required for all students beginning the program in Fall 2009. Verification forms are collected throughout the program for various learning experiences.

Qualifications for a Degree

To qualify for a Master of Education in Reading, a candidate must complete all courses: core and clinical, for a total of 35 semester credits. The Knowledge of Reading Test (KRT), which assesses knowledge of basic reading skills, strategies and materials, must be taken online and during MRD 7920, Practicum in Reading, or MRD 7950, Seminar in Reading Research. The PRAXIS II Reading Specialist test (5301) must also be taken and passed using State of Delaware passing criteria (164) prior to receiving a grade in MRD 7950. Praxis scores should be submitted to Wilmington University via ETS. They will also need to be posted in Taskstream. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 must be maintained throughout the program. The program must be completed within five years.

Content and Performance Assessment Requirements

This is a state-approved degree program which contributes to eligibility for licensure and/or certification as an educator in Delaware public schools. As such, all candidates must meet the content and performance assessment requirements described in DE Administrative Code.

The regulation states, in part:

Content Assessment 

“Where a content readiness exam is applicable and available in area, subject, or category of specialization sought, the Candidate shall achieve a passing score on an examination as established by the Professional Standards Board, in consultation with the Department and with concurrence of the State Board.”

Performance Assessment 

“Where a performance assessment is applicable and available in an area appropriate to the Program in which a Candidate is enrolled, the Candidate shall achieve a passing score as a requirement to Exit the Program. The performance assessment may not be scored by any employees of the Educator Preparation Program or Unit, and shall be scored by Certified Reviewers.”

The instrument selected by Wilmington University as a required exit assessment for the M.Ed. in Reading is ETS Praxis II, #5301 Reading Specialist. The minimum acceptable score is 164. The assessment is administered and scored by ETS.

Candidates must consult with program advisors and/or the program chair to obtain the most current information about exit and graduation requirements.


Course Requirements

Master of Education in Reading leading to State Certification as a Reading Specialist K-12 (35 credits)

Core Courses

MED 6102 E-Folio

MRD 7801 Language Development

MRD 7802 Process and Acquisition of Literacy

MRD 7803 Strategies and Materials for Teaching Reading and Writing

MRD 7804 Literature and Non-Fiction Books/Materials for Children and Adolescents

MED 7705 Measurement, Accountability, and Student Learning

MRD 7804: semester

Clinical Courses: All clinical courses are semester courses: See note below

MRD 7815 Application of Strategies for Teaching Content Area Reading

MRD 7903 Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Difficulties

MRD 7920 Practicum in Reading

MRD 7950 Seminar in Reading Research

MRD 7950 is not offered in the summer.

MRD 7903: This course requires onsite tutoring and final grade of “B” or higher. 

MRD 7920 and MRD 7950 may NOT be taken concurrently without Program Chair approval.