College of Education & Human Services

Office of Dean
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1373
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Department of Teacher Education

214 Shippen Hall
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
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Office of the Provost
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1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371 

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016 

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Program  Admission Requirements  Degree Requirements 
Related Programs   Comprehensive Literacy   Faculty 

The Program

A graduate program leading to the Master of Education degree with specialization in reading is offered for fully certified elementary and secondary school teachers. A Master's degree also certifies the graduate as a reading specialist.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants who have elementary or secondary certification are required to complete a minimum of 33 semester hour credits of graduate work for the Master of Education degree with specialization in reading. Additional course work may be required due to deficiencies in undergraduate preparation. Background courses which may be required (but are not limited to)  include the following: Children's Literature; Teaching of Reading; and a Language Arts. Please note: Background courses are in addition to graduate program requirements and must be completed prior to enrollment in any graduate reading courses.

All students will be admitted on an initial basis. Students will be fully admitted to the program when they successfully complete the initial requirements.

To be considered for admission, applicants must provide the following:

  • a graduate admission application,
  • all transcripts of undergraduate/graduate work,
  • a grade point average of 3.0 on previous undergraduate course work,
  • three letters of reference from educators in the field,
  • and an information sheet.

Upon receipt of all required documentation, candidates will be interviewed by a member of the reading faculty from the Department of Teacher Education. Potential students will not be interviewed if they have not submitted all the documentation required for initial admission. At the time of the interview, a planning sheet outlining a program of courses will be developed. This planning sheet, approved by the student's advisor (interviewer), must be completed and placed on file in the Department of Teacher Education.

Please print the forms from the following link:
Supplemental Application [PDF]

Questionnaire [PDF]

Reference Form [PDF]

Degree Requirements

The program requires that candidates pass through various status categories from admission to graduation. The following describes those categories and the requirements. The status categories are: 1) Foundational Status, 2) Practicum Status, and 3) Program Completion.

Foundation Status is awarded to candidates who successfully complete the following:

  • Completed application through the admissions office (including three letters of reference, transcripts (3.0 GPA required in previous coursework), evidence of teaching certificate and all clearances.
  • Undergraduate degree or certification in elementary education from accredited university.
  • Completion of background courses for candidates not certified in elementary education from accredited university.
  • Successful completion of an interview with a designated reading faculty member who will act as advisor.

Foundation Status Requirements: 

  • Meet "standard expectations" in professional dispositions.
  • Meet "standard expectations" on qualifying exam.
  • Maintain GPA of 3.0.
  • Complete the following courses with a "B" or higher:
  • EEC 423 Effective Instructional Strategies for Children with Exceptionalities
  • TCH 600 Research
  • RDG 413 Teaching Reading to English Language Learners
  • RDG 524 English Language Learners: Diversity's Impact on Literacy Instruction
  • RDG 528 Foundations of Literacy Development
  • RDG 529 Reading and Reasoning Beyond the Primary Grade
  • RDG 537 Brain Based Strategies for Literacy Learners Experiencing Difficulty
  • EEC 483 Assessing Children with Exceptionalities
  • EEC 447 Instructional Content or related courses

Practicum Status is awarded to candidates following the completion of all Foundational Status Requirements.

Practicum Status Requirements: 

  • Meet "standard expectations" in professional dispositions.
  • Maintain GPA of 3.0.
  • Passing score on Praxis exam.
  • Complete the following courses with at least a "B" grade:
  • RDG 520 Tutoring Secondary Students
  • RDG 532 Diagnosis and Assessment
  • RDG 533 Advanced Diagnosis and Assessment
  • RDG 534 Practicum in Reading
  • RDG 535 Seminar in Language, Literacy and Reading

*Program Completion Status is awarded to candidates following the completion of all Practicum Status. 

IV. Praxis Exam

The Praxis Reading Specialist exam must be passed before graduation and/or certification as a reading specialist. It is recommended that this exam be taken during RDG535 Seminar in Literacy, Language and Reading.

Related Programs

Reading Supervisor

For information concerning the post-master's degree program leading to Pennsylvania certification as a Reading Supervisor, refer to the Educational Leadership & Special Education Department.  

Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery is an early intervention program used in school districts for at-risk first grade students. The program helps to develop early reading/writing skills and to build successful literacy experiences. Shippensburg University is the State Site for Reading Recovery. The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Ohio State University, and the National Diffusion Network collaborated in the development and funding of this Site.

Post-Master's Degree - Teacher Leader Training

The teacher leader training program is an 18 credit hour post-master's program which includes the following required courses:

Fall semester

  • RDG 554 Practicum in Reading
  • RDG 601 Language Development Theory
  • RDG 607 Reading Recovery Training for Teachers I

Spring semester

  • RDG 555 Practicum in Assessment
  • RDG 602 Reading Thoughts and Processes
  • RDG 608 Reading Recovery Training for Teachers II

Interested persons must submit an application (available from the College of Education and Human Services) and be accepted as a Teacher Leader participant. Participants must be sponsored by a school district or Intermediate Unit Consortium. Included with the training program and the required course work for two semesters, participants will be expected to complete extensive field work, work individually with four Reading Recovery children each day, demonstrate teaching in front of a one-way observation window with at least three of their own Reading Recovery children, lead a seminar of Reading Recovery teachers to learn the techniques of a Teacher Leader, perform arranged special collaborative activities designed to help the Teacher Leader candidate explore the full role of the Teacher Leader, and collect and maintain data on children in accordance with guidelines for evaluation. All course work must be taken during one academic year.

Specific information on the Teacher Leader program and the application process can be obtained by contacting Dr. Janet Bufalino, Site Coordinator for Reading Recovery, College of Education and Human Services, at 717-477-1373.

Post-Baccalaureate Degree - Teacher Training

The Reading Recovery teacher training program is a 6-credit graduate program which includes one 3-credit course in the fall semester and one 3-credit course in the spring semester.

These courses are taught through approved teacher training sites by Teacher Leaders in school-based sites. Interested individuals should contact the Office of the Dean of Education at (717) 477-1373 for information on teacher training sites.

For more information on the various reading programs offered through Shippensburg University, go to

Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy


Shippensburg University has developed a partnership with The University of Arkansas at Little Rock to train school district literacy coaches in this national recognized model. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy (PCL) is a school-reform model dedicated to increasing student achievement. The model uses literacy as a tool for measuring school improvement in four related areas: student learning, teacher perceptions, school climate, and school processes.

The model design incorporates the following features:

Feature 1: A Framework for Literacy uses a workshop approach for meeting the needs of all students, including an integrated curriculum, inquiry-based learning, and differentiated instruction. Students acquire problem solving strategies for working on tasks that increase in complexity and difficulty.

Feature 2: Coaching and Mentoring uses scaffolding techniques to assist teacher in taking on new learning, including a gradual release model for assuming responsibility.

Feature 3: Model Classrooms are transformed from traditional approaches of instruction into literacy labs that become settings for observing the model in action.

Feature 4: High Standards are based on state, national, and professional standards with benchmarks along the way to ensure that all children reach their highest potential.

Feature 5: Accountability includes a school wide, seamless assessment system with multiple measures for evaluating success, such as formative and summative assessments, student portfolios, assessment walls, and school reports.

Feature 6: Interventions are targeted to meet the needs of diverse readers, including reading Recovery for the lowest students in first grade and K-5 intervention groups for other needy students.

Feature 7: Professional Development is embedded into the school climate, including literacy team meetings, professional learning communities, teacher book clubs, peer observations, cluster visits, teacher conferences, and demonstration levels.

Feature 8: Well-Designed Literacy Plan is created for continuous improvement, including short and long-term goals as related to literacy with a benchmark of three years with a monitoring system.

Feature 9: Technology is used for communications, presentations, data collection, publications, and networking opportunities.

Feature 10: Spotlighting and Advocacy are techniques for disseminating information on the model, including news releases, research articles, and presentations by school teams, and schools site visits.

Implementing the Comprehensive Literacy Model

The foundation of this model is literacy coaches. There are two possible district level of coaches - District coaches and Building Coaches

District Coaches --District Coaches are school district employees who enroll in seven courses that comprise the literacy coach program and who are qualified to train building coaches at the end of their training year. In their role, a district coach acts as a building coach in one elementary school building and trains coaches for other elementary school buildings or neighboring school district buildings. The training for a district coach involves 21 credits of post-master's coursework which is to be completed in a 12 month timeframe. At the completion of the coursework, a Literacy Coach University Registration will be issued by Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Course Name  Area of Specialty   When  Taken 
Comprehensive Literacy Model for School Improvement

Clinical - 3 credits

Summer (Institute)
Theory & Practice in Literacy

Theory - 3 credits

Processes & Strategies in Reading Comprehension

Clinical - 3 credits


Supervision & Organization of Reading Programs

Supervision - 3 credits

Research in Language & Literacy Acquisition

Theory - 3 credits

Curriculum Design & Evaluation of Literacy Programs

Clinical - 3 credits

Literacy Coaches as Agents of Change

Supervision - 3 credits


Building Coaches -- Building Coaches are trained to work full time in a school supporting teachers as they take on the Comprehensive Literacy Model. The training for building coaches is a minimum of 9 credits of coursework in one academic year. Building Coaches can continue their training and obtain the remaining 12 credits to be awarded a Literacy Coach University Registration. Following are the courses for building coaches:

Course Name   Area of Specialty  When Taken 
Comprehensive Literacy Model for School Improvement

Clinical - 3 credits

Summer (Institute)
Processes & Strategies in Reading Comprehension

Clinical - 3 credits

Literacy Coaches as Agents of Change

Supervision - 3 credits



Every member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Teacher Education holds an earned doctorate. The faculty is known not only for its high professional qualifications but for the excellence of its relationships with its students.

Lynn Baynum, Ph.D., Marywood University , Children's Literature, Foundations of Reading.

Janet Bufalino, Ed.D., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Reading Recovery and Early Intervention.

Christopher Keyes, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, English Language Learners, Literacy Coaching, Middle Level Literacy.

Mary Paxton, Ed.D., Widener  University, Foundations of Reading   

Cheryl Slattery, Ed.D., Weidner University, Literacy Assessment and Foundations of Reading.