The online Advanced Certification Literacy Specialist curriculum helps classroom teachers and other education professionals enhance their knowledge of reading pedagogy through coursework, mentorship, and hands-on experiences. Graduates who complete the ADV CERT LIT are eligible for an initial or professional certificate in the teaching of literacy in New York state. The program offers a choice of two strands:

  • Early Childhood/Childhood (birth–grade 6)
  • Middle Childhood/Adolescent (grades 5–12)

Program Structure

The ADV CERT LIT is a 21-credit hour program that can be completed in as little as one year. Each course accounts for three credit hours, lasts seven weeks, and requires field experience. The program concludes with a 14-week practicum featuring clinical and school experiences and a teacher-as-researcher capstone project.


Core Course Descriptions

Fall Courses

This course examines literacy development for children with diverse learning needs related to cognitive, behavioral, linguistic, cultural, and gender factors. Issues explored include the identification/special assessment/intervention process, the impact of mandated state literacy assessments on compensatory literacy programs, and the role of the literacy specialist in supporting students both through inclusion and pull-out programs. There will be a focus on remedial reading/writing strategies to support students experiencing difficulty in decoding/encoding, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension.
This course will facilitate candidates’ active exploration of the reading and writing processes and practices that support the literacy development of children in the intermediate to middle school grades (i.e., 4-8). Candidates will apply current research focusing on this specific population as they investigate models of assessment and instruction. This class will build competencies in technology to mediate information and to coach/mentor educational professionals and community members. Field experience is required.

Spring Courses

This foundation course focuses on research and theory regarding the processes of literacy development from the emergent to the proficient reader/writer. Theories of language and cognition are considered within historical/social context. Topics include the developmental nature of reading and writing, factors that affect literacy acquisition, the relation between oral language and literacy development, and the impact of sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and brain research on literacy acquisition.
This course reviews the developmental aspects of literacy acquisition and provides insights into early literacy processes and instructional practices from multiple perspectives. Candidates will investigate current research on early childhood instructional models and best practices. They will examine their assumptions regarding the concept of balance in integrated literacy programs, as balance relates to the literate environment, organization, and management of early literacy programs, word study, the construction of meaning, the utilization of literature-based programs, differentiation of instruction, and authentic assessment.

OR

This course deepens knowledge of the burgeoning need for the integration of literacy and technology in the content areas. The course will focus on research-based strategies for building reading comprehension, constructing meaning, building fluency through the use of non-fiction selections, digital literacy, and new media applications in the content areas. Candidates examine and apply approaches for developing vocabulary and skills in studying, listening, writing, and speaking in print and non-print (i.e. new literacies) formats for disciplinary knowledge. This course will introduce practical experiences with technology. In addition, candidates will learn new media strategies to work with and teach students in grades 4-9 classrooms. This class will build competencies in knowledge of information, application of strategies in classrooms, and coaching/mentoring activities for professionals and community members. Field experience is required.

Summer Courses

This course will inform students about various techniques and tools to assess literacy development, birth through grade 12. Students will have the opportunity to administer various assessments and measurement instruments including standardized tests, IRI, and the respective statewide literacy instruments used to assess reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will gain experience in administering and interpreting various tests and using actuarial data in processing instruction and sharing test results with parents and stakeholders.
This course considers a wide range of children’s and adolescents’ literature, and focuses on the selection and evaluation of literature in the genres of fiction and non-fiction for instructional and recreational purposes. This course scrutinizes current theories, research, and issues related to literature study, critical literacy, literary elements, genres, and narratives/expository text structures. The utilization of children’s literature in reading and writing instruction across the disciplines will be emphasized, as well as the promotion of lifelong reading habits in children and respect for diversity through multicultural literature. This class will build competencies in knowledge of information, application of strategies in classrooms, and coaching/mentoring activities for professionals and community members. Technological approaches to creating digital formats for storytelling will be learned and applied in classroom assignments. Field experience is required.

Final Semester Practicum

This clinical practicum is required as part of the ADV CERT Literacy Specialist program for those seeking certification at the Birth-Grade 6 level. The practicum consists of 100 clock hours working with children from birth through grade 6 in literacy assessment and instruction. The student may choose from several practical locations. Faculty supervision is provided as the student conducts assessment, instruction, and consultation/collaboration with the client at home and/or school.

OR

The clinical practicum is required as part of the ADV CERT Literacy Specialist program for those seeking certification at the grades 5-12 level. The practicum consists of 100 clock hours working with children from grade 6 through grade 12 in literacy assessment and instruction. The student may choose from several practical locations. Faculty supervision is provided as the student conducts assessment, instruction, and consultation/collaboration with the client at home and/or school.

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