Welcome to Reading
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has four graduate programs in Reading and Literacy Education. These programs are designed to prepare reading educators for their diverse roles as defined by the International Reading Association professional standards. A description of the four programs, including their historical context, is described below.
The Master’s in Reading degree has been offered for approximately 30 years, and has prepared reading specialists across Arkansas and other states, including recent graduates from Wisconsin, North Carolina, Illinois, Colorado, and Missouri. The Master’s in Reading is Nationally Recognized by the International Reading Association (IRA) and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The degree consists of a 36-hour program of study with 21 hours of concentrated reading coursework that includes preparation in reading foundations, reading theory, reading research, diagnosis of reading difficulties, vocabulary and comprehension strategies, children’s literature, language strategies, reading in the content areas, teaching culturally different children, early intervention programs, best practices in reading, and others. The reading program also includes supervised clinical experiences in early intervention, reading practicum, and an advanced reading practicum. Prior to graduation, candidates must complete a comprehensive exam and pass the Praxis for Reading Specialist. Graduates are eligible to obtain Reading Specialist licensure in the state of Arkansas.
The Literacy Coach Specialist certificate program that was created in response to the International Reading Association’s position statement of the need for universities to provide credentialed programs to prepare reading specialists for the new role of literacy coach. From 2006-2009, over 75 students have graduated with a Literacy Coach Specialist certificate, including students from Missouri, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Maine, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, New Mexico, and Illinois. The Literacy Coach Specialist program includes a 18-hour program of study above a Masters designed to prepare coaches in the areas of research-based literacy practices, professional experiences in reading, research in language and literacy, supervising and coordinating a school’s literacy program, coaching and mentoring techniques, school reform for continuous improvement, and curriculum design and evaluation of literacy programs. Prior to graduation, the students are required to submit an electronic portfolio of their work, including an original research project in a literacy area, a curriculum project, and supporting evidence of their success as a literacy coach specialist.
The Educational Specialist in Reading degree has been offered for over ten years. During this time, over 40 students have graduated with their EdS in Reading degree, including recipients from Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Alaska, and Michigan. The EdS degree is a 36-hour program of study above a Masters designed to prepare candidates for a leadership role in literacy-related areas, including literacy curriculum specialists, literacy coaches, teacher leaders, and other leadership roles in reading instruction. Prior to graduation, students are required to pass comprehensive exams and to submit and defend a portfolio of their work from courses, including case studies, research papers, and research proposals. During the final 6 hours of their program, students are required to complete and defend a thesis or research project in a literacy area.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Reading degree was approved in 2007. The goal of the PhD in Reading is to prepare reading educators for leadership roles in scholarly practice, literacy research, and teaching at university or college levels. The PhD in Reading degree is a research-oriented program with rigorous coursework in literacy theories combined with cognitive apprenticeships in the field and opportunities to collaborate with faculty on scholarly work and research projects. The program prepares candidates with specialized knowledge and experience related to literacy issues in K-12 schools, universities, and the wider context of teaching and learning. The program requires a minimum of 108 semester hours (72 hours beyond master’s degree). The literacy core provides an integrated exploration of seminal theories, key research studies, and historical contributions in reading instruction. The research core addresses current information about research design and methods for quantitative and qualitative studies, including statistics and data management. The specialty areas provide students with a range of options for deepening their knowledge in concentrated areas. The culminating project is a scholarly dissertation of original research in a significant literacy area.