Graduate Certificate Reading Specialist


The Graduate Certificate Reading Specialist 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:


Candidates demonstrate knowledge of major theoretical, conceptual, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language, the ways in which they interrelate, and the role of the reading/literacy specialist in schools.


Candidates use foundational knowledge to design literacy curricula to meet needs of learners, especially those who experience difficulty with literacy;  design,  implement, and evaluate small-group and individual evidence-based literacy instruction for learners; collaborate with teachers to implement effective literacy practices.


Candidates understand, select, and use valid, reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools to screen, diagnose, and measure student literacy achievement; inform instruction and evaluate interventions; assist teachers in their understanding and use of assessment results; advocate for appropriate literacy practices to relevant stakeholders.


Candidates demonstrate knowledge of research, relevant theories, pedagogies, and essential concepts of diversity and equity; demonstrate an understanding of themselves and others as cultural beings; create classrooms and schools that are inclusive and affirming; advocate for equity at school, district, and community levels.


Candidates meet the developmental needs of all learners and collaborate with school personnel to use a variety of print and digital materials to engage and motivate all learners; integrate digital technologies in appropriate, safe, and effective ways; foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.


Candidates demonstrate the ability to be reflective literacy professionals, who apply their knowledge of adult learning to work collaboratively with colleagues; demonstrate their leadership and facilitation skills; advocate on behalf of teachers, students, families, and communities.


Candidates complete supervised, integrated, extended practicum/ clinical experiences that include intervention work with students and working with their peers and experienced colleagues; practicums include ongoing experiences in school-based setting(s); supervision includes observation and ongoing feedback by qualified supervisors.

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. Candidates will take an online test of their content knowledge at the end of their program, as well as a disposition survey. PRAXIS II (5302 Reading Specialist) must be taken and passed (score of 165) prior to petitioning for the certificate.  It is a requirement. Praxis scores should be submitted to Wilmington University via ETS. They will also need to be posted in Taskstream.

Program Design

This certificate is 26 credits of content-specific courses related to various literacy needs of learners and required by the Delaware Department of Education. The certificate program requires that candidates be working in an educational setting to complete the program competency assignments.  The Graduate Certificate as Reading Specialist is designed to meet four sets of professional standards: Delaware Professional Teaching Standards (DPTS), International Literacy Association (ILA), National Council for Accreditation Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards. There is a non-­credit E-­Folio course requirement (MED 6102).

Course Requirements

Clinical Courses: All clinical courses are semester courses

MRD 7815 Application of Strategies for Teaching Content Area Reading

MRD 7903 Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Difficulties

MRD 7920 Practicum in Reading

MRD 7903: This course requires a final grade of “B” or higher         

This list does not represent the recommended sequence.

MED 6102 E-Folio

MLL 7402 Second Language Acquisition in ELL

MRD 7802 Process and Acquisition of Literacy

MRD 7806 Writing Assessment and Instruction (Cert Candidates, only)

Content and Performance Assessment Requirements

This certificate program contributes to eligibility for 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, Title 14, Regulation 290.

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 Graduate Certificate Reading Specialist is ETS Praxis II, Test Code #5302. The minimum acceptable score is 165. The assessment is administered and scored by ETS. It is the candidate’s responsibility to have PRAXIS II scores sent to Wilmington University directly from ETS (Educational Testing Service).


Candidates must obtain passing scores for this exam in order to be eligible to petition for the Graduate Certificate as Reading Specialist. Candidates must consult with program advisors and/or the program chair to obtain the most current information about this requirement.


Qualifications for Certificate

To qualify for the Graduate Certificate Reading Specialist, a candidate must meet all criteria noted in the Outcomes Assessment paragraph, above.

Candidates completing the required sequence of courses listed above with a GPA of 3.00 or higher will, upon application to the Wilmington University Office of the Registrar, be issued a Wilmington University Graduate Certificate as Reading Specialist. Applications may be found on the Wilmington University Registrar’s webpage.

Delaware Certification - School Reading Specialist

Current Delaware Department of Education regulations (DE Title 14, §1581) stipulate that teachers who hold a valid Delaware Initial, continuing, or Advanced License; or a Professional Status Certificate issued  by the Department prior to December 31, 2003, and who have met the requirements as set forth in 14 DE Admin. Code 1505 and who have met the additional requirements in the regulation may apply for a State of Delaware Standard Certificate as a Reading Specialist. This includes three years of successful classroom teaching.

However, certification requirements are subject to change by the Delaware Department of Education and the Professional Standards Board. The most recent information about those requirements can be accessed at the Delaware Department of Education/Professional Standards Board website.  


Any changes in Delaware licensure and certification regulations could cause Wilmington University to make course and/or program adjustments in order to align with new or revised state requirements. Wilmington University reserves the right to change requirements to comply with any licensure/certification mandates of the Delaware Department of Education.


Wilmington University has not made determinations for licensure in states outside of Delaware. For state-by-state contact information for inquiring about individual state licensure requirements, please visit NC-SARA's Professional Licensure Directory.

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2024-2025 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2023 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.