|Reading skills and strategies are essential for academic success and, increasingly, for survival in our technical society. Successful educators at all levels and in all fields of study understand the process of building meaning from print, and use research-supported approaches to teaching strategies for text-based learning. Specialists holding graduate credentials in Reading Education are in demand to fulfill a wide variety of functions:Classroom Teachers: Primary grade classroom teachers have a direct and lasting influence on children’s acquisition of reading skills, abilities, and habits. Intermediate grade and middle grade teachers introduce students to strategies for reading in the content areas, and high school teachers reinforce these strategies and encourage independent study techniques. Graduate reading credentials enable classroom teachers at all levels to design and deliver more effective reading instruction.Special Reading/Language Arts Teachers: Some children have reading needs that exceed the level of additional instruction that can be provided by the classroom teacher. Special Reading teachers work with smaller groups of students to identify their specific difficulties and provide the instructional intervention needed. Specialized reading intervention requires knowledge of sophisticated assessment techniques, diagnostic skill, an understanding of the influence of home, school, emotional, physical, and language factors on reading development, and the ability to synthesize many factors to develop effective instructional solutions.
University/Community College Reading Instructors: Most universities and community colleges have programs, centers, and/or courses aimed at developmental reading improvement at several levels. Remedial reading courses may be offered or required for students scoring below a given level on entrance exams, and more advanced courses in critical and analytic reading and study strategies may be offered as part of a comprehensive liberal arts program design. Reading Specialists are sought to deliver this type of instruction, and to design and conduct college level reading and writing labs, workshops, mini-courses, and supplemental instruction programs.
Consultants: These specialists are often called upon to analyze complex situations involving people, monies and materials. They may be asked to evaluate a schoolwide or district’s reading program, to design and conduct professional development programs or create new programs designed to meet the specific needs of groups, schools, or districts.
Resource Specialists/District Coordinators: These specialists are responsible for coordinating district-level reading/learning curricula; general program planning; district-wide professional training; and interpreting reading/language arts programs, skills, continuums and competencies to administrators, parents and the general public. They often oversee the implementation of reading programs and the reading-related dimensions of programs for English language learners, special education students, and gifted learners.
Researcher/Writer: These specialists use their skills to research the professional literature in order to synthesize and draw conclusions based on the rapidly increasing knowledge in the field. They may design field study research for educational publishers, write manuals and guides for teachers, or develop and/or maintain websites for educational practitioners.
Industrial/Business/Governmental Employees: As a highly trained professional, the person with special reading training at the graduate level may be sought to fill roles such as grant writing, grant evaluating, teaching speed reading to business administrators and employees, advising publishers on readability of manuals and technical materials, consulting with television network producers, teaching and diagnosing reading skills in private clinics, directing federally funded programs, authoring reading textbooks or children’s literature, creating reading games and instructional materials.
The employment outlook for reading/language arts specialists is excellent. With the development of the California Reading Initiative, Reading has become a priority in California schools and districts. Consequently, the need for specialists at elementary, middle, and high school levels is significant. In addition, the demand for classroom teachers with a background in reading and the language arts is strong. There is also an increased need for professionals to teach reading at the community college level. Candidates completing the Master of Science in Education (Reading) and/or the California Reading/Language Arts Specialist Credential should find a variety of employment options.