School of Education - George Mason University

Literacy and Reading

Introducing a new master's degree option that combines K-12 Reading Specialist Licensure with Coursework in ESL and/or Special Education. Now Accepting applications!

The GMU Literacy Program, in the College of Education and Human Development, is offering a new master’s degree concentration (“Literacy Leadership for Diverse Schools”) that combines K-12 Reading Specialist licensure with additional coursework related to working with English language learners and/or students with special needs. The entire master’s is 33 credits. Courses are available at all three Mason campuses, with online/hybrid options available. Licensed teachers in any grade level who have taught for at least one year are encouraged to apply. Teachers who already hold a master’s degree can complete their Reading Specialist licensure coursework in 21 credits (7 courses).

For further information contact: the Literacy Outreach Coordinator via email at

ASTL Literacy Concentrations are still available, for more information visit the ASTL Literacy Page

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Watch our video and learn more about our master's degrees and certificates in literacy

Program Description

Welcome to the George Mason University Literacy and Reading program! The Literacy and Reading program offers course work and degrees related to the reading, writing and language development of children, adolescents and adults. Our master's and doctoral programs prepare professions for instructional, leadership, research, and policy roles in school divisions, agencies and universities throughout the United States. All course work is carefully based in both research and practice to provide educators in every setting with a strong foundation for professional decision-making. The master's and graduate certificate program meets the requirements for reading specialist licensure in Virginia and follows the Standards for Literacy Professionals established by the International Reading Association. This program was recently identified by IRA as "Nationally Recognized" after an extensive accreditation and review process.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Literacy and Reading program involves five central objectives:

  • To provide experiences that will enable candidates to become highly knowledgeable in literacy theory, research,and appropriate instructional practices for young children, adolescents, and adults from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs.
  • To provide experiences that will enable candidates to contribute to literacy instruction by developing coherent, inclusive literacy programs that meet the needs of all students.
  • To provide experiences that will enable candidates to contribute to literacy assessment in instructional contexts (assist in the development of assessment instruments, conduct assessments for individuals or groups of students, assist in interpretation of test results and share results of assessments with the public).
  • To provide experiences that will enable candidates to serve as a literacy leader in instructional contexts (serving as a resource to teachers, developing curriculum, coordinating the literacy program, selecting or identifying literacy material and providing professional development).
  • To provide experiences that will facilitate candidates development of the attitudes and skills necessary for continued learning throughout their literacy careers (through reading, writing, conducting research, providing professional presentations, and other opportunities for connecting with colleagues in literacy and allied fields).