How to Become a Reading Teacher

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A reading teacher promotes literacy through supplemental instruction in comprehension, fluency, phonemic awareness and vocabulary. Sometimes you can land a job as a reading teacher immediately after college. However, most educators complete additional training to develop competencies and improve their ability to identify and diagnose literacy problems. Here are some tips on how to become a reading teacher.

  • Get a job as a reading teacher with a degree and certification in a field closely related to reading, such as language arts or English. Provide supplemental instruction under the supervision of a literacy coordinator until it is possible to gain certification in reading.

  • Work toward a master's degree in Reading Education. Before applying to a graduate program, you will need to have a degree, teacher certification and submit GRE results. Complete 30 to 32 credit hours, a written exam or thesis.

  • Pick up an Add-On Reading Endorsement. Take classes directly from a university or continuing education credits offered through district in-service.

  • Show proof of at least 30 earned graduate hours in reading. Some states allow you to become a reading teacher if you verify that you have taken courses approved for reading instruction.

  • Pass reading subject-matter assessments. You may have to verify your knowledge in reading by taking the Praxis II or a state equivalent. Check the Department of Education website for certification criteria in your state.

  • Tell the administration about any professional education. When you earn a master's degree, reading endorsement, certificate or continuous education credits, contact the principal or credential officer in your district so that updates can be made to your professional teacher development file.

  • Join professional associations that promote the best teaching practices in reading. Join an organization like the International Reading Association for the latest research and resources.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before you are employed, ask if the district will reimburse a teacher for the cost of additional coursework in reading.
  • Verify the teacher education program is fully accredited, especially if you plan to earn a reading certificate through online courses.
  • Make sure that your district will accept the graduate work in reading.
  • Some states like Florida require an English teacher to have a reading or ESL endorsement within three to five years of hire.
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