How Do I Become a Reading Specialist?

Jeremy Laukkonen
Jeremy Laukkonen
Some teachers are reading specialists.
Some teachers are reading specialists.

If you would like to become a reading specialist, you will first need to be a teacher. This means that you need to begin by obtaining a four year degree in education, though the specific requirements can differ depending on your location. After you get a bachelor's degree, you may become certified and then find work as a teacher. The next step is to attend a graduate school that offers advanced degrees in literacy related fields. After you have a master's degree, you can then become a reading specialist by obtaining the proper certification for your area.

Reading specialists are highly educated teachers that have a large amount of knowledge regarding literacy. If you choose to become a reading specialist, you may be called upon to assess a child's reading abilities or to ensure that each student in your care can read at an acceptable level. You may also have responsibilities such as examining and offering recommendations about the reading programs of schools or entire districts. Your extensive knowledge can be indispensable in improving the literacy rate at the school or schools you work with.

Since reading specialists are teachers, the first step to become one is to attain a bachelor's in education. This may not necessarily be required, though it is a prerequisite to becoming certified as a teacher in many areas. You can also begin the certification process when you are still in school by taking the Praxis I®, which is often required before you can begin studying for your bachelor of education degree. In other cases, you will not need to take that test until after you graduate.

After graduating with a bachelor of education, you can typically look for work as a teacher. The certification process can be somewhat lengthy, and the Praxis III® test is typically taken after you have taught in a classroom for a year. You may continue to teach at this point or pursue an advanced degree full time.

In order to become a reading specialist, you will need to obtain a master of education degree. This degree can focus on reading education, language arts, or other similar fields. After you have completed that degree, the final step in the process to become a reading specialist is to get certified. This certification can vary from one area to another, but it typically requires a master of education degree and several years of teaching experience. If those requirements are met and a reading specialist exam is passed, you may be issued the requisite certification.

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Discussion Comments

browncoat

I guess one of the modern difficulties that reading specialists face is making sure that kids know how to use decent grammar and spelling. I've heard that kids in developing countries now write and read more than they ever had, but that it is all done through cell phones or online, with their peers.

So, in a way it's good, because it must be having an effect for them to spend so much time communicating through a written medium, but in another way it can be bad because it must reinforce bad habits.

Anyone who is looking for reading specialist jobs would have to be prepared to overcome that challenge.

lluviaporos

@Mor - I think it's just as important to help out in your own country as well. Being a reading specialist you're going to be helping out children and the world in general, no matter where you teach.

Literacy is the kind of thing that needs to be vigilantly pursued by any country and everyone with the passion to help with that should become a teacher in order to help toward that goal.

I guess I feel strongly about this because both my parents are teachers and because reading has been such a huge part of my own life.

The human race grows stronger the more deeply it communicates, both with the people in the present and those in the past and reading is one of the best ways to access that kind of communication.

Mor
Something to consider if you become a reading specialist is to donate your services by volunteering overseas. There are plenty of developing countries who are crying out for experts in literacy in order to develop programs that will actually work.

Unfortunately, there are many countries in the world where reading is still taught with rote learning, which is a notoriously bad way of learning how to read. Teaching a population to read is a way to spread ideas and in this age of the internet is even more essential than it ever was for developing countries to have a literate population in order to thrive.

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    • Some teachers are reading specialists.
      Some teachers are reading specialists.