About This Masters Degree
Teacher Preparation Programs in Reading/Literacy
The Warner School’s teacher preparation programs in literacy are designed to prepare current teachers who want to become reading and literacy specialists or coaches to help improve reading and literacy outcomes for all students.
Literacy is more than words on a page and a discrete set of skills that are taught in the classroom. Literacy is a set of social practices that children use in school, at home, and in their communities to interpret and shape the world in meaningful ways. By making connections with what kids are doing in and outside of schools, literacy teachers, specialists, and coaches today are expanding the possibilities for student learning—a positive change that has a broader impact on society. Students take these skills, knowledge, and experiences to solve real-world problems and make the world a better place.
Our graduates become educators who embrace curricula and pedagogical approaches that foster collaborative learning and recognize that knowledge of literacy is constructed through their students’ resources and everyday practices that they bring to the classroom. They help their students, as well as other teachers, discover that literacy is much more than conventional reading and writing. The students they work with develop a level of literacy that is a critical determinant of success throughout school and in their communities. They learn to read and understand complicated materials, think critically, and solve real-world problems.
Our program is built around the premise that children begin learning literacy as early as birth through everyday interactions, such as reading books, singing songs, interacting with others, and naming and pointing out objects. Meaningful literacy activities like these expand vocabularies, enrich their experiences, and impact a child’s development during the early and preschool years. This emphasis on developing literacy, through both new and traditional literacies and social practices, is carried out throughout the elementary and secondary school years, where literacy instruction is included in all academic areas, including math, science, and social studies, and across all grade levels.
Our program prepares literacy specialists who construct classroom environments that promote social justice. They develop an understanding of literacy as a social practice and apply that perspective into instruction practices that actively draw upon their students’ diverse interests and cultures as they use literacy in personal, purposeful, and meaningful ways. They look at what children bring to school and how classrooms can build on these experiences.
Lastly, they have the courage and conviction to lead struggles for social justice, in-depth knowledge of literacy, and the skills and understanding needed to help all students develop to their fullest potential. They also know what is appropriate for the age/grade level and the subject area that they teach and for the children, families, and communities in which they work. And, they lead efforts to advocate for full inclusion for students with disabilities in general education classrooms as part of their efforts to reform schools.
Depending on the context you would like to teach in, and the credentials you may have already obtained, you may choose among the program options listed below to best meet your career goals and situation.
Non-certification program for literacy teachers:
This program has been designed for individuals who are not interested in obtaining or eligible to obtain New York State (NYS) teaching certification – as they are planning to teach students in international, private or charter schools, or other informal learning settings, such as camps, clubs, or after-school programs. As such, this option does not include field experiences or student teaching, and has more flexibility in terms of curriculum and electives.
-MS – Literacy Education (without NYS certification) (GR1) https://www.warner.rochester.edu/programs/program/GR1
Programs for current teachers seeking additional certification in teaching literacy:
-MS program (also leading to professional certification in the original area): birth-grade 6 (SR1) https://www.warner.rochester.edu/programs/program/SR1 ; grades 5-12 (SR2) https://www.warner.rochester.edu/programs/program/SR2
- Certification only (non-degree program): birth-grade 6 (NR1) https://www.warner.rochester.edu/programs/program/NR1 ; grades 5-12 (NR2) https://www.warner.rochester.edu/programs/program/NR2
Program prerequisites and New York State Teaching Certifications
To enter the literacy teacher preparation program leading to NYS certification, you need to already have NYS initial teaching certification in another area of specialization. Our program will provide you with all the coursework and internships needed to obtain additional NYS Certification in Teaching Literacy as part of a master’s degree or non-degree program. Students pursuing the master's degree program will also be eligible for NYS professional certification in their original area of specialization.
In New York State, Certification in Teaching Literacy is considered an advanced certification, as it enables you to not only teach literacy to students, but to also act as a reading and literacies specialist or coach, working with and supporting other teachers. As such, you are expected to already hold initial teaching certification in another area at least before you apply to New York State Education Department for this certification. You can, however, complete some of the required coursework while completing another teacher preparation program at Warner.
No doubt you had a teacher who took a genuine interest, who really opened your eyes to the possibilities. You can become that teacher: The one who creates a classroom where spirits soar and success is the expectation.
At Warner, you’ll grow into a thoughtful practitioner with a deep understanding of your subject and the best way to teach it. You
will develop an approach that is grounded in current research and authentic practices, that promotes social justice and supports students’ growth and development.
And you’ll do it quicker. A teaching degree from the Warner School can be completed in just 15 months. (Most take two years.) Classes begin in May, right after graduation, and run through the following August. And since New York has some of the toughest certifications around, you can take what you’ve learned just about anywhere.