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School of Education - George Mason University
Reading specialists are professionals with advanced preparation and experience in reading who may have responsibility for the literacy performance of both proficient as well as struggling readers. They serve as teachers, literacy coaches, and staff developers.

Mason's Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) reading specialist concentration provides a state-approved sequence of courses that can lead to eligibility for the K–12 reading specialist endorsement in Virginia.

Course work in this concentration helps teachers develop an in-depth understanding of literacy development across the lifespan, examines instructional and assessment strategies for individuals and groups of students, and provides preparation for work as a reading specialist.

Who Will Benefit from This Degree Concentration?

Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) concentrations are for teachers and other educators with one or more years of teaching or education-related experience who want to continue to grow professionally. Experienced teachers who hold a bachelor's degree with or without a master's degree may apply for the literacy: reading specialist concentration, which includes 21 credits in the concentration area and 12 credits in ASTL core classes.

Additional Virginia state licensure requirements include an initial teaching license (not obtained via this program), a satisfactory score on the reading assessment specified by the Virginia Board of Education, and at least three years of classroom teaching experience. Students must also earn a B- or higher in all licensure course work.

What are some of the program's strengths?

The program offers advanced study in literacy, coaching, and professional development. Aligned with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the courses help teachers think and practice with the same level of reflection and skill as Board-certified educators.

Can I use graduate credits from other universities to reduce my course load?

No, course credit transfers and course substitutions are not allowed for the literacy: reading specialist concentration.