Reading and Writing Specialist, K-12

The Reading and Writing Specialist program is based on a broad foundation of courses and experiences in a comprehensive and balanced approach to literacy learning and development. The program is aimed at helping K–12 classroom teachers, special educators, Title I personnel, literacy coaches, curriculum coordinators, adult literacy teachers, educators, and administrators provide the highest quality literacy instruction to all students in today’s diverse classrooms. The program of study builds on candidates’ preparation and experience in reading and writing while addressing standards from the International Reading Association and the NH Department of Education. This advanced specialist program requires that candidates be certified as a teacher and have a minimum of two years of teaching experience before completion of the program.

The coursework emphasizes concepts based on the roles of the reading and writing specialist in the areas of instruction, assessment, and leadership. Reading and writing specialists provide service through many roles, including remedial teacher, co-teaching with the regular classroom teacher, professional development provider, literacy coach, Title I coordinator, and mentor. Newly graduated reading and writing professionals in this program will have the opportunity to develop the competencies in providing leadership for school-, district-, and state level literacy programs, assessing and evaluating reading achievement and literacy programs, and communicating information about literacy to staff, administration, parents, and the community.

Candidates will demonstrate knowledge and skills in six categories of standards outlined by the International Reading Association, including: foundational knowledge; curriculum and instruction; assessment and evaluation; diversity; literate environment, and professional development.

Program of Study

  • CAGS Core Component – 18 credits
  • 3
    In this course, students will explore major concepts related to developing partnerships and communities of learners. Course topics include the change process, forms of school and community governance, school culture, the concept of collaboration, and agencies and organizations involved in community programs and initiatives. Special attention is focused on planning and implementing system-wide and building-level networks. Students will develop and evaluate a framework for collaboration and demonstrate systems thinking. Typically the first course completed in the CAGS program.
  • 3
    This course focuses on the development of a self-renewing capability inherent in professionals and organizations. Students will discuss the notion of transformation in the context of knowledge base, self-reflection, and the socio-professional processes in educational change. Students will explore the integration of ecological perspectives within a changing society and the demand for greater tolerance of human behavior in the context of learning. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the need to keep student learning and development as the central core of educational change. Prerequisites: EP 7020 and EP 7040.
  • 3
    The purpose of this course is to develop effective collaborative planners. This course presents the major stages in the process of developing a strategic plan, including forming a mission statement, crafting and implementing the plan, and evaluating plan performance. It provides a theoretical and practical overview of the skills, strategies, and resources required through each stage of the systemic planning process. (Prerequisite: EP 7020).
  • 3
    This course addresses qualitative research methodologies with a particular emphasis on constructing grounded theory. Candidates will engage in the process, design, and critique of qualitative inquiry and research. Organizational and community issues will be explored and discovered through the analysis of patterns of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors within interpersonal and intercultural contexts. The course includes theory and practice related to initiating an inquiry; gathering, recording and analyzing data; and evaluating a study. (Prerequisites: Eligibility for CAGS level coursework, and a graduate level course in research design).
  • 3
    This course presents a discussion of ways institutions and their communities must deal with the legal and political environment in which they exist. Topics include current legal issues and how the stakeholders in society can use the law as a tool for social change. Institutions must advocate for positive change through the development of thoughtful legal policies and practices.
  • 3
    Contemporary social, economical, political, and educational issues are the core of the course. They are identified in a forum that provides opportunities for the students to research current methodology together to address problems that relate to the specific roles of the course participants in their work inside or outside of the educational field. Working collaboratively, course candidates explore short-range and long range problem-solving strategies directed toward increasing their awareness of community perception and expectations, techniques for facilitating institutional change, and responding to the nature and culture of internal and external political systems and environments as they apply to their work sites.
  • Specialization Component – 24 credits
  • 3
    Research in Reading and Writing is an investigation into the significant research theory and principles on the development of reading and writing, the teaching of reading and writing, the assessment of reading and writing, and the implications of this knowledge that enrich our understandings and refine our practices. From historical perspectives to current trends and issues, we will explore the transformation of the reading and writing landscape. In doing so, we will discover what research in reading and writing is; how it is used; the value of reading and writing research; how it is applied to improve practice, understanding, and reflective thought; and its role in determining best institutional practices.
  • 3
    An overview of current theories concerning the brain, development, and learning. Analysis of developmental concepts from birth through adolescence and adulthood. Discussion of language acquisition, thinking and learning styles, multiple intelligence, and creativity. Topics include teaching, learning, and assessment issues related to cultural diversity, technology, and learning differences.
  • - OR -
  • 3
    Participants will be introduced to core principles and the newest research findings related to the brain and learning. The course will focus on the key brain principles, neural networks (i.e., recognition, strategic, affective) and neurodevelopmental learning functions of the brain (e.g., attention, memory, language) and their impact on learning. It is expected that participants will already have an existing knowledge of child development theories; the neurodevelopmental framework will be layered with these theories to understand what a student can be expected to do at a given age. During the course participants will practice the skill of observing for evidence of learning strengths and weaknesses and linking them to academic performance through a case study. Participants must have access to a student/students on a regular basis as a large component of this course requires observation. This course is appropriate for anyone who works with students (child-adult).
  • 3
    In this course students will study the foundations of language/literacy processes and instruction. Topics include the psychological, cultural, and linguistic theoretical foundations; current practices, research, and historical developments; reading and writing language development related to their acquisition as well as cultural and linguistic diversity; major components of reading curriculum; major components of writing instruction; reading and writing instructional strategies and curriculum materials. The course will be in an interactive seminar/workshop format with an online component.
  • 3
    To provide literacy instructors with practical suggestions, approaches, and tools to engage all K-12 students, including adolescents themselves, in focusing on improving student reading, writing, thinking, and listening. A three tiered model will examine the areas of student motivation, integrating literacy and learning, and sustaining literacy development. The final product will be the formation of a differentiated instructional plan in the content area demonstrating the use of strategies presented in the course. Participants will be using their own existing school curricula or be planning to use the strategies with future students. A district wide presentation can be developed from the culmination of all student's artifacts.
  • 3
    This course is designed as an active and reflective experience of reading and process writing. Students will be immersed in literature and process writing as they develop a portfolio of their own work as lifelong readers and writers. They will review theory and practice regarding process writing, writing to learn, and writing across the curriculum. They will work in the format of the reading/writing connection to explore a range of non-print and print genres, including but not limited to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, fantasy, timed writing to a prompt and multicultural literature. Further topics to be examined in this course are the development of practical classroom applications of creating a literate environment, supporting the reading/writing connection in the classroom, exploration of the question `what makes good writing', assessment in the reading/writing workshop, the mechanical aspects of writing, and the needs of diverse learners. This course is recommended for students in the Reading and Writing masters' program and the certification Program, as well as for any other students who teach reading and writing in the elementary, middle, and secondary schools.
  • 3
    Diagnostic and instructional issues presented include: reading and writing development; factors related to reading and writing disabilities; varied approaches to individual diagnosis and proven emergent reading, corrective, standardized tests and authentic assessments currently used in reading and special education programs. Students will demonstrate skills in the understanding of the statistical characteristics, administration of formal and informal diagnostic reading tools, the development of individual reading intervention goals and objectives for remediation and the use of formative, summative and progress monitoring tools in assessing growth and designing interventions. This course may be repeated with the permission of the instructor.
  • 3
    This instructional technology course is designed to provide technology educators, School Media Specialists, K-12 educators, and administrators with an understanding of ways current and emerging technologies can be used to facilitate teaching, learning, and managing instruction. Discussions will focus on issues, trends, and current uses of technology in K-12 education. Sessions will focus upon gaining experience integrating digital technology within the Common Core Standards, evaluating web 2.0 tools, exploring video resources, and designing technology enhanced lessons utilizing digital storytelling for K-12 curriculum integration.
  • - OR -
  • 3
    This collaborative, project based online course will provide K-12 educators with a framework, information and resources necessary to explore, create and share multimedia content globally; to use multimedia to communicate and participate in authentic, interactive, networked learning communities, to inspire and motivate student learning. Exploring a variety of online resources and tools, students will collaborate in an online, constructivist environment to create a multimedia based authentic project. Educators will share how they integrate multimedia across the curriculum, using the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) for Students as a foundation with a focus on media literacy.
  • 3
    Provides prospective language teachers with an introduction to the study of language. Principal topics include sociolinguistic theories, language variation, and pragmatics; and the classroom implications of phonology, morphology, semantics and syntax.
  • Capstone Experience – 6 credits
  • 3
    This practicum focuses on leadership, collaboration and coaching. Discussion of literacy program planning, operation, management, budget, curriculum, and evaluation. Emphasis on the role of the reading and writing specialist as researcher, leader, and change agent. Study of collaborative consultative skills, supervisory skills, staff development services, and community activities. Field-based experiences at the elementary, middle, and high school. This is the capstone course for students in the reading and writing specialist program.
  • 3
    Analysis of the factors contributing to reading disability. Diagnosis, teaching, curriculum planning and use of informal and formal assessments with small groups of readers in K-12 settings and supervised tutorial situations. Discussions with literacy professionals and paraprofessionals, and participation in professional development workshops. Seminars promote reflection on instructional practices and the range of services available for readers across the developmental continuum.
  • Total for CAGS in Educational Leadership, K–12 Reading and Writing Specialist Concentration – 48 credits

* Approved substitutions: LL 5005 Foundations of TESOL Methodology; LL 5007 ESOL Literacy; or NHEON LT-05, or LT 06, or LT-07.

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