Literacy Studies

Graduate Certificate | Fully online | 15-Credits 

Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, compute, and communicate using visual, audible, and digital materials across disciplines and in any context. At Shippensburg University, we understand the global and national need for literacy and the demands teachers face in preparing their students.

The graduate certificate in Literacy Studies (LST) enables working teachers to build students' comprehension, writing, and overall skills in language arts— ultimately preparing them for success and confidence in a variety of classroom environments.

The 15-credit online certificate is designed to serve the needs of certified, working educators who seek courses beyond a bachelor's, master's degree, and wish to continuing their education and maintain certification through obtaining continuing education units (CEUs). 

Advantages of the Literacy Studies Certificate

  • Enhance literacy-related knowledge and skills for comprehensive planning and incorporation of instructional practices in PK-4, middle, or elementary schools (4-8 levels).
  • Implement systematic and purposeful digital instruction in literacy instruction in PK-4, middle or elementary schools (4-8 levels).
  • Meet the demands of high stake literacy outcomes and testing in public and private schools.
  • Specialize in literacy development and instruction without earning a reading specialist certification.

The Literacy Studies Certificate includes standards for PK-8 classroom teachers from the International Literacy Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Common Core State Standards

Strengthen your skills to make an impact in the lives of young students, see complete course information, payment, and registration information below.

Course Information

The Literacy Studies Certificate consists of five online courses, in which each course is three graduate credits to total 15 credits. Each course spans a ten-week semester within the traditional SU calendar, including an adjusted timeline for the traditional SU summer terms. The Literacy Studies Certificate (LST) will recognize a fall and spring break. Each term will represent 4.5 hours of course time for each course each week.   

Course Descriptions

LST 500: Literacy Studies in the 21st Century 

This course is designed to explore cognitive, socio-cultural, motivational and physiological research related to literacy studies, as well as research-based instructional theories and models for teaching reading and writing. In addition, this course will review the Common Core State Standards for the purpose of exploring theory in practice within academic disciplines among primary, middle and secondary learners.

In addition, candidates will explore the components of experimental and action research designs; learn to summarize and critique literature; and examine the connection between theory and practice.  In addition, candidates will design a classroom-based research project with a literature review and methodology to analyze instruction in literacy. 

Course and Program/Certificate Outcome: Candidates will design an action research study based on a relevant topic, including a research question, literature review, methodology to examine effective instruction in literacy. 

LST 510 Multiple Literacies in a Digital World

This course is designed to explore multiple literacies development, instruction and curricula in PK-8 classrooms, as well as consider how students in PK-8 classrooms interact using multiple media as a means of enhancing reading and writing skills and competencies. In addition, the content of the course will focus on disciplinary literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy, and critical literacy, but emphasize the use of digital literacy research finding and theories to evaluate instructional practices that aim to develop multiple literacies.

Candidates will critique technology related instructional programs for characteristics of best practice; describe a technological adaptation to an existing curricular framework; and design technology-based literacy lessons using the Optimal Learning Model for PK-8 learners.  

Course and Program/Certificate Outcome: Candidates will use create four differentiated lessons that focus on visual and critical literacies. These lessons will highlight candidates' understanding about using technology to bolster learning outcomes and experiences with their students, specifically elements for the development of math, science, social studies, or health literacies. 

LST 520 Motivating and Engaging Readers and Writers Across the Content Areas

This course explores strategies for motivating and engaging PK-8 learners during reading and writing instruction. In order to enhance candidates' conceptions of purposeful and explicit instruction, the Common Core State Standards, as well as content areas curriculum will form the basis for examining and applying instructional practices, particularly in science, social studies and mathematics.  

Candidates will examine a variety of instructional and technology related tools used to motivate readers and writers in content areas; review strategic-based instruction among PK-8 grade levels; evaluate instructional practices using data to describe strengths and limitations, as well as consider the use of informal, student interest surveys to evaluate motivation and interest.

Course and Program/Certificate Outcome: Candidates will review professional readings to summarize, critique, share and reflect on topics in language and literacy development, specifically motivation in PK-8 grade levels. 

LST 540 Creating and Managing a Literate Environment

This course explores instructional approaches and curricular materials that are used within a comprehensive, integrated and balanced literacy program, in particular the literacy-related, curricular frameworks for self-contained and departmentalized primary and middle level classrooms.  Candidates will consider the impact of classroom environment, specifically the quality and use of resources and methods designed to optimize learning in PK-8 classrooms.

In addition, the Common Core State Standards will serve as the curricular competencies that shape literacy instruction, specifically in reading and writing. Candidates will analyze videos of classroom environments within PK-8 grade levels; design a strategy intervention block of instruction for one grade level; and evaluate instructional practices in an existing classroom to describe strengths and limitations, as well as recommend research-based, best practice adaptations within that classroom.  

Course and Program/Certificate Outcome: Candidates will use a data simulation to identify and redesign best practice instructional procedures, including teacher prompts, assessment recommendations and additional resources for enriching and remediating instruction for reading and writing within one grade level. 

LST 550 Assessment and Evaluation as a Framework for Literacy Instruction

This course explores types of assessment and evaluation measures, as well as their purpose and intended use within a comprehensive, integrated and balanced literacy program.  Candidates will review various state assessments and the standards or anchors that formulate the content within the measure, as well as the structure of measures.  Candidates will also evaluate various published assessments, namely those used within a commercially produced program. In addition, candidates will examine the use of assessment measures as a framework for determining instruction for whole group, small group, and independent students' reading and writing competencies. Candidates will analyze videos of simulated assessment administration, and use the data from the simulation to generate instruction for the simulated students.  

Course and Program/Certificate Outcome: Candidates will analyze and critique the effectiveness and format for one assessment measure in a commercially produced instructional manual, as well as share assessment outcomes with various stakeholders.  In addition, the candidate will use simulated data from the assessment measure to analyze and interpret instructional decisions in reading or writing. 

Course Registration

Admitted & Returning Students for Credit Course
Individuals who are admitted or current students who wish to take classes from Shippensburg University for credit, register for classes at:

New Students
Before registering for courses for this program, you will need to activate an official Shippensburg University email address. For assistance in setting up your email account and password, please contact the SU Helpdesk.

Non-Degree Students for Credit Course
Individuals who wish to take classes from Shippensburg University, but are not seeking a degree should consult the information at

Non-Credit Students
Individuals who wish to take classes from Shippensburg University, but are not seeking credit(s), should register at:


Admission Requirements 

For admission to the Literacy Studies Graduate Certificate, an applicant must: 

  • Applicants must have Bachelor's of Science Degree with teacher certification in early childhood, elementary, middle level or secondary level, with either an Instructional I or Instructional II status or seeking Instructional II certification. The bachelor's degree must be from a regionally accredited institution. 
  • To be considered for admission, you must demonstrate a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on 4.0 scale. 

How to Apply

To be eligible for admission to the certificate program, applicants must follow these 3 steps:

  1. Complete the certificate application.
  2. Once you complete the application, click 'Submit" to proceed to pay application fee. If you don't pay fee, we will not be able to process your application. 
  3. Submit official undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) transcripts documenting the earned degree to 1871 Old Main Drive, Horton Hall 110 Shippensburg PA 17257

Please note the following after your application has been submitted:  

  • Allow two business days for review and processing of application. 
  • After successful completion of application, you will receive follow-up directions for enrolling in your course in an email to the email address you provided on your application.



Tuition & Fees

  • Information about tuition, fees, paying your bill, and the refund and withdraw policies are posted at:/student_accounts/

Financial Aid

Cancellation Policy 

Shippensburg University reserve the right to cancel courses due to low enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Faculty & Support

Course content, academic advising, and workplace applicability

General admissions, registration, and course information

  • Contact: Office of Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education (PCDE), (717) 477-1502,