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Reading Specialist Program Features

Required Courses

Contact the program coordinator to discuss possible 2, 3, and 4-year course sequences.

RDLG 530

A multi-dimensional and multimedia approach to children’s and adolescent’s literature with extensive reading, critical examination, selection, and evaluation.  Emphasis will be on: children’s and adolescents’ books and story presentation strategies as related to the children’s needs and interests at various age levels; historic trends; research; and the influence and utilization of literature upon the academic, social, and emotional growth of the child and adolescent.

RDLG 571

The place of language in culture; linguistics and psycholinguistics as academic disciplines; examination of concepts significant for the reading program; analysis of American English; implications of cultural, linguistic, and psycholinguistic data for instructional practice and for selection of instructional materials.

RDLG 579

A study of the purposes, specialized reading skills, reading materials, and modes of inquiry specific to the content areas; application of these specialized skills to the specific reading task.

RDLG 672

This course explores the implications of research in reading on instructional materials, classroom procedures and best practices.  It is an advanced study of effective literacy instructional techniques, assessments, curricular materials and literate classroom environments.  Relationships between reading and the use of collaborative, authentic reading learning experiences within an inquiry oriented curriculum are examined in depth.

RDLG 673

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in depth examination of current research and methods used in reading, writing and language arts instruction.  It explores theories of how to teach the writing process and examines the connection between reading and writing performance in literacy development.  This course also explores and examines skills that support writing processes and identifies effective strategies for cross curricular integration of creative and informational writing.

SPED 624 or SPED 501

SPED 624: An intensive overview of the field of learning disabilities: definition, characteristics, assessment, subtypes of, and major educational approaches for teaching.  Current research in both cognition and brain physiology will be explored.

SPED 501: An introduction to the field of special education, focusing on the characteristics and educational needs of students with disabilities.  The course covers etiology and behavioral manifestations of a wide variety of disabling conditions and introduces current approaches to the education of students with these disabilities.  Included is up-to-date information on federal and state laws which affect programs for children with disabilities and key issues in special education today.

ECED 620

The purpose of this course is to explore the fundamental bases for making informed decisions about emergent and early reading instruction.  These decisions are necessarily buttressed by complex cultural and social issues that influence the way teachers of young children approach every aspect of literacy development (e.g. how play space encourages and supports literacy development, types of shared book experiences, and quality and number of children’s trade books).  Special attention will be given to theories, concepts, principles, and research in sociolinguistics, anthropology, and multicultural education that inform teachers of young children at risk for school failure due to economic circumstances.

EDFN 508

A course which examines basic research design, library and computer search strategies, and certain statistical concepts.  Emphasis is on understanding and interpreting research studies.

Capstone Courses

RDLG 691

Investigation of formal and informal diagnostic methods and materials for testing reading achievement; critical appraisal of these methods and materials based on psychological and linguistic principles; use of the results of both formal and informal assessment to identify reading difficulties; corrective techniques appropriate for meeting these difficulties determined.  Case studies required.

RDLG 692

An advanced course where knowledge of diagnosis and instruction is refined,   applied and extended as students work in a practicum setting.  The student will employ various assessment procedures to develop and implement corrective instruction with direct supervision in the field placement.   Case studies required.

RDLG 693

This course is designed for the reading specialist in the classroom or remedial program and for the future administrator responsible for the implementation of developmental and remedial reading programs.  It prepares participants to act within the school-based reading program in the areas of curriculum, methodology, development, organization and supervision of literacy programs K-12.

RDLG 700

Every candidate for a graduate degree must take a comprehensive examination which requires the candidate to synthesize and apply knowledge acquired throughout the program.

Expectations for STUDENTS 

In addition to the TCNJ expectations for graduate students, candidates in the reading specialist program are expected to:

  • Maintain the appropriate level of grades in courses:
    • Maintain a minimum average grade of a B in all course work
    • Earn a B+ or better in each practicum. Students who are unable to complete all required practicums will not be recommended by The College of New Jersey for State Certification as a Reading Specialist
  • Complete coursework in a timely manner:
    • An incomplete in prerequisite coursework is resolved before admission is possible to successive courses
    • If two incompletes appear on a record, these need to be resolved before registration is permitted in further coursework
  • Follow principles of ethical and professional conduct which include:
    • Meeting responsibilities and deadlines in a timely manner. Students are expected to fulfill class requirements on time, to demonstrate a good attendance record in all classes, and to submit all assignments by the deadlines required by instructors.
    • Respecting student confidentiality. Candidates are expected to maintain the confidentiality of any student with whom they are working in a practicum setting. This includes keeping all students’ identity anonymous during classroom conversations, consultations with faculty, and in clinical reading reports.
    • Demonstrating ability to collaborate professionally and respectfully with all peers and faculty.
    • Sharing knowledge and experiences openly and actively through collaborative and interactive seminars.

Eligibility for Graduation

  1. Satisfactory completion of courses
  2. A minimum of 27 graduate semester hours earned at TCNJ
  3. A minimum total of 33 graduate semester hours
  4. A cumulative GPA of 3.0
  5. Successful completion of the Reading Specialist Praxis II
  6. Completion of all departmental requirements/prerequisites which includes the successful completion of a Comprehensive Exam
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