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FAQ for Literacy/ Reading Programs

What is a Reading Specialist?

According to the International Literacy Association (ILA), a Reading Specialist is an educator who can offer expert instruction, targeted assessment, and leadership in working with colleagues. In school settings, Reading Specialists do many things including teach struggling readers, conduct diagnostic assessments and act as a literacy coach providing professional development to colleagues. Graduates will also be qualified to work in after-school programs, clinical settings and in private tutoring practice. For a longer discussion on the roles and responsibilities of a reading specialists see the ILA’s position statement.

What prior teaching certification is needed in order to be recommended by TCNJ for state Reading Specialist certification?

Candidates are required to have a minimum of 2 years of teaching experience before obtaining a certificate as a state reading specialist.

I see I need two years of full-time teaching experience to be certified as a Reading Specialist. What does that mean?

At the time of your application for certification (which happens the semester you graduate from the program at TCNJ) you will need official letters from your school verifying that you have been working full-time for two years. Full-time teaching is usually a tenure track position that includes official mentoring and other state requirements that lead to a standard teaching license in NJ. For more specific information please contact the Certification Office.

I have other questions about certification. Whom should I ask?

The Support for Teacher Education Programs (STEP) Office offers resources and programs for students interested in teaching certifications. For specific information about certification, please consult with the Certification Office.

How long does it take to complete the literacy program at TCNJ?

That depends on whether you want to attend full, half, or part time. Programs can be completed in as few as two years or as many as five.

I have taken graduate credits in related reading courses at another institution. How many credits may I transfer?

You may transfer a maximum of 6 credits. You must provide the program coordinator with a course description and syllabus of the course(s) you want to transfer; if the coordinator approves those courses, you must then submit an official transcript of the course .

I work full time. Will I be able to attend the Literacy?

Yes. All of our courses and practica are designed for working professionals. Most courses run from 5-7:30pm on weekday evenings.

Can I take courses during the summer?

Several courses are available in the summer. For specific details on course offerings please consult the summer session course catalog.

While I am in the program, I would like to obtain experience working with a professor on research. Are there any opportunities?

Yes. The faculty at TCNJ conduct ongoing research in several areas related to literacy. Each faculty member profile lists current interests and ongoing research projects. You can contact a faculty member to discuss any possibilities for getting involved in a research project.