Graduates of the Master of Arts in Literacy Education are prepared to lead literacy initiatives in preschool through college settings.
- The first seven courses qualify a classroom teacher for licensure as a Minnesota and/or Wisconsin (316) K–12 Reading Teacher
- Master’s degree candidates complete seven additional courses focusing on reading and writing development across the lifespan
- Graduates of the master’s degree program are eligible for Minnesota licensure as a Reading Leader through portfolio demonstration of applied leadership standards.
The seven-semester program is structured to fit professional educators’ schedules and is offered at convenient locations throughout Minnesota.
"Saint Mary's University has provided me with a treasure trove of best practices for teaching reading at all grade levels."
"I've been teaching for 15 years and finally feel competent to teach reading to all students. Saint Mary's has truly made a difference in my instruction."
“Watching students unlock the doors to their futures brings satisfaction beyond my wildest dreams. It’s a joy to be part of the transformation of so many young people.”
-Peggy Westlund, M.A. in Literacy Education Graduate
K-12 Reading Teacher Program
This course explores the theoretical and scientific underpinnings of literacy development as a basis for developing effective K-12 reading programs. Major topics include knowledge of the relationships between spoken and written language, the historical evolution of English, processes of reading, motivational aspects, stages of reading, spelling, and writing development, and major historical and current instructional approaches and programs for literacy development. Qualitative and quantitative research regarding literacy acquisition and applications to designing balanced reading programs are addressed.
Drawing on the conceptual framework for understanding literacy processes, stages, and major instructional approaches developed in
This course focuses on literacy development in the middle and high school years, with the goal of promoting reading for learning, understanding, and enjoyment. Topics include assessment of students' reading and written language skills, the cognitive and skill levels required by various content-area materials and written tests, use of alternative testing strategies, and instructional strategies for developing strategic readers and competent writers in all content areas. Collaboration with content area teachers to adapt course materials, teaching strategies, and assessment practices for students with exceptional educational needs such as learning disabilities and gifted/talented are also featured.
This course focuses on the concepts and skills needed to develop literacy programs for students who differ in how they acquire literacy because of language, learning, and/or cultural differences. Three major strands are featured: (1) selection and teaching of literature that reflects the diversity of American classrooms and promotes global understanding; (2) fostering literacy in children who come from non-mainstream cultures; and (3) literacy for English Language Learners (ELL/ESL) and for those with special learning characteristics, for example, gifted and talented. Gender differences in literacy acquisition are also explored.
This course focuses on the concepts and skills needed to identify and successfully remdiate reading and written language difficulties in all struggling readers, including those served in Title One and LD programs, English Language Learners with literacy delays, and competent readers who have lost motivation to read and write well. Concepts related to test construction, selection, and administration are explored through a case study approach. Uses of group and individual standardized and informal literacy measurements are featured.
After assessing the literacy skills and needs of three students--one each at elementary, middle, and high school levels--candidates for the licensure design and carry out individualized intervention programs. The course includes 45 hours of student contact, three class sessions, and weekly online participation via Blackboard.
This course focuses on the skills needed to design and supervise K-12 reading programs, including selection of curriculum, assessment procedures, instructional materials, and budget development. Interpretation of district results on state-mandated reading tests and development of a district plan are featured. This course also includes coaching strategies for collaboration with classroom and content area teachers.
Master of Arts in Literacy Education program
This course explores the theoretical models and research that inform contemporary understandings of reading development across the lifespan. Exploration and critical review of research in areas of interest (e.g., literacy policy, language and cognition in sociocultural contexts, foundations for literacy development, comprehension development, motivation and engagement, and instructional effects on literacy development) are featured. Syntheses of research as it relates to implications for curriculum development and organization are emphasized.
The theoretical and research base for current trends in writing instruction in K-12 and post-secondary schools are explored. Topics of study include spelling, grammar, and composition across the lifespan. Student choice in completing a review of the research literature in an area of interest is featured.
This course is designed for candidates who wish to increase their personal familiarity with genres of children's literature while supporting colleagues in their use of high-quality literature and instructional strategies for building quality literature programs at the preschool through sixth grade levels. The course culminates in development of a plan for helping teachers at a selected grade level match students' reading levels, interests, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.
This course reviews the various genres of adolescent and young adult literature and approaches to building a quality literature program through consideration of the reading interests and life issues of adolescents and young adults, particularly for those who are struggling readers. Contemporary issues and controversies in teaching adolescent literature are featured. The course culminates in a coaching plan for incorporating quality literature across the curriculum applications.
This course features the use of school and or district achievement data to design a practicum in an educational setting. The practicum addresses the areas of data and goal setting, barriers to student achievement, assessment planning and evaluation, dissemination of research, and professional development of staff relating to instructional best practices.
Investigation of the nature, causes, and course of reading and writing disabilities across the lifespan, including frequently co-occurring conditions that impact literacy acquisition, is the focus of this course. Topics include (1) design and/or evaluation of assessment tools and; (2) individual diagnosis and case study development; and (3) implications of Response to Treatment (RTI) for early intervention and remediation of literacy disabilities across the lifespan.
This course explores the design, execution, analysis, and evaluation of qualitative, empirical, and teacher action research in the field of literacy across the lifespan. Seminar discussions of issues in literacy education lead to individual research proposals that include a literature review and a methodology/action plan for investigation of a targeted area of interest regarding literacy development, culminating in a leadership plan for facilitating learning communities focused on critical analysis and engagement in teacher action research.
The culmination of the master's degree in Literacy Education is the presentation and defense of the candidate's research project. Prior to the final presentation, candidates receive instructor guidance and peer feedback.