Enhance your skills as an educator to help shape lives by earning a master’s degree in education.
This specialization prepares you to help students (Grades PreK–6) develop the 21st-century literacy skills required for college and career readiness by achieving the English Language Arts goals outlined in the Common Core State Standards, National Board Standards, and other state standards.
Designed by national experts in the field, coursework explores current research and practical strategies that can help you increase the achievement of all students, including linguistically, culturally, and academically diverse learners. This specialization addresses teaching digital literacy, managing classroom literacy programs, and effectively engaging students to promote lifelong literacy.
A recent study shows that students whose teachers held an MS in Education with a specialization in Elementary Reading and Literacy (Grades PreK–6) from Walden performed better in language arts on the Georgia Reading and Language Arts Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) than students whose teachers held a master’s degree from another institution.* The research builds on a previous study, “Linking Teacher Learning to Student Success,” which confirms the positive connection between graduates of Walden’s M.S. in Education program and student outcomes in reading fluency.†
In the Elementary Reading and Literacy (Grades PreK-6) specialization, you will:
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.
Graduates of this program will be prepared to:
|Course Code||EDUC 6610||Course||Teacher as Professional||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||EDUC 6640||Course||Designing Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||READ 6705||Course||Reading and Literacy Today||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||EDUC 6650||Course||Enhancing Learning for Diverse Populations||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||READ 6706||Course||Literacy Development P-3||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||EDUC 6657||Course||Creating an Effective Classroom Learning Environment||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||READ 6707||Course||Reading and Literacy Growth Grades 4-6||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||READ 6708||Course||Literacy in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||READ 6709||Course||Literacy in Academically Diverse Classrooms||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||EDUC 6733||Course||Action Research for Educators||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
Effective teachers are leaders who make a positive difference in classrooms, schools, and society. Education professionals explore what it means to be a teacher leader in today's diverse and changing educational landscape, while gaining expertise in current research-based educational advancements. They examine their values, beliefs, vision, and mission, and they explore teacher effectiveness in relation to their role in the larger context of the teaching profession. They collaborate in professional learning communities and advocate for students and other educators in order to promote positive social change. They synthesize their learning throughout the course and use this knowledge to enhance professional growth and development.
In this course, education professionals examine classroom curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the context of standards and accountability. The importance of alignment of these components and resulting impact on student learning are emphasized. Educators explore learning theory, learner variables, and the need for differentiation to meet diverse learning needs. Multiple purposes and methods of assessment as well as effective approaches to grading and reporting will be discussed. Using their state or district standards, educators engage in a process for designing standards-driven classroom curriculum, instruction, and assessment that will meet the diverse learning needs of their students. Endorsement candidates must complete special education endorsement courses and receive a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher prior to moving into MS in Education courses.)
To support the reading and literacy development of all students, education professionals need to understand the factors that may influence literacy learning including language development, educational research and policies, and instructional practices to promote the development of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. In this course, education professionals explore theoretical and historical perspectives on literacy education and consider the influence of cognitive, linguistic, sociocultural, and psychological development on the literacy learning of PreK-6 students. Education professionals have the opportunity to examine current educational policies and initiatives including the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and other state standards. Education professionals consider the role of research in informing literacy instruction and apply effective instructional practices including practical approaches for implementing the Response to Intervention (RTI) model and incorporating new literacies and technology tools to support literacy instruction.
In this course, education professionals explore the value of linguistic and cultural diversity and the powerful learning opportunities it affords today's classrooms and schools. They examine their attitudes, beliefs, and biases regarding linguistically and culturally diverse students, families, and communities, and they learn approaches for working together to ensure high levels of learning for all students. Through real-world observations, they assess strategies for ensuring equitable access to high-quality learning experiences. Education professionals also explore effective practices, such as cultural responsiveness, anti-bias curriculum, differentiated instruction, and academic vocabulary development. Endorsement candidates must complete special education endorsement courses and receive a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher prior to moving into MS in Education courses.)
Building a strong foundation of literacy skills and experiences in young children is critical to their success in school and life. In this course, educators take a developmental approach to reading and literacy instruction and are provided practical research-based approaches to help P-3 students achieve the literacy goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and other state standards. The characteristics of emergent and beginning readers are explored, focusing on phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Education professionals evaluate the role of motivation in learning to read and analyze the use of progress monitoring and Response to Intervention (RTI) to support all learners. Through their coursework, educators are provided with opportunities to explore writing, close reading, print concepts, and multiple text genres. Education professionals plan and implement developmentally appropriate assessment and instruction, including technology tools, to support the literacy development of all learners in preschool through third grade.
Education professionals have the opportunity to learn to create safe, supportive, and respectful learning environments that promote social-emotional development, self-responsibility, and character, in order to optimize learning for all students. They can learn how to foster a sense of community in the classroom and develop positive relationships with and among students. Skills and strategies for managing dynamic and flexible classroom structures and for teaching conflict resolution are presented. Educators are also provided with strategies for building positive relationships and engaging in effective communication and problem solving with parents and families. Endorsement candidates must complete special education endorsement courses and receive a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher prior to moving into MS in Education courses.)
The intermediate grades present unique challenges to literacy learning including complexity of text, students' use of technology, student motivation to learn, and explicit and implicit gender issues exhibited in the classroom. Education professionals are provided with opportunities to evaluate research-based instructional and assessment practices to help students in grades 4–6 to actively engage in literacy learning and achieve the literacy goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and other state standards. Education professionals examine the role of literacy in content area learning, explore ways to teach close reading of complex texts, and consider how to incorporate different levels, types, and genres of text to support all students' learning and literacy development. The focus of the coursework is on effective strategies to support writing about text, content-area specialization vocabulary, listening and speaking, and the effective use of technology tools to support content area reading.
Today's classrooms reflect the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the world outside of school. Educators explore how to establish a responsive classroom where literacy development flourishes for all students, including second language learners and speakers of nonstandard dialects. Education professionals analyze the reading and literacy challenges experienced by culturally and linguistically diverse learners including text complexity, academic vocabulary, and appropriateness of texts and materials. The focus of the coursework is on ways to scaffold and support all literacy learners, including English Language Learners.
Today's classrooms require competent and confident teachers to support both students who struggle with reading and those who excel. Education professionals in this course focus on accelerating the literacy development of students with reading difficulties, including students who have specific learning disabilities, and addressing the needs of high-achieving students. Through coursework, education professionals have opportunities to examine informal and formal assessments, the use of data to inform instruction, and practical guidelines for implementing the Response to Intervention (RTI) model. Education professionals explore concepts and strategies, including collaboration with support resources, methods to differentiate and scaffold instruction, progress monitoring, leveling books, intervention strategies, and the use of motivating texts and technology tools to support student learning.
Education professionals use action research in a variety of ways to positively impact P–12 student learning. They examine, design, and implement action research. They address relevant problems, become involved in collaborative inquiry, use data and research to inform their practice, improve P–12 student academic success, and contribute to positive social change in their classrooms and school environments. Education professionals collect and analyze student data, develop and implement data-informed decisions to guide instructional planning, and engage in reflective practices to ensure continuous improvement and enhance professional growth.
*According to a 2011 independent study of teachers in a large public school district in Georgia that analyzed data collected from second- through fifth-grade students of more than 4,000 teachers of record for reading for school years from 2004 to 2009, as well as more than 205,000 student observations from 2004 to 2010.
†According to a 2008 independent study of teachers in the Tacoma Public Schools (Washington) that analyzed data from 2006 to 2008.
Note on Teacher Licensure or Certification
This program does not lead to teacher licensure or certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.