Many experienced teachers consider career shifts after years in the classroom. Some want to continue working directly with students, perhaps in a more supportive capacity, while others consider educational opportunities entirely outside of a traditional environment. An advanced degree in reading and literacy offers opportunities to support students, teachers and schools in a variety of settings.
Classroom Opportunities for Teachers with a Master's Degree in Literacy
If you wish to stay in general education, students at different levels of reading competency need your help.
Preschool and primary education: Students in Pre-K, kindergarten and grades one and two are just discovering the task of reading, how books work, how text moves from left to right, how sounds work together and how letter combinations form all of the words needed to communicate.
Intermediate education: By third grade, many students are fluent enough to read for understanding. They are no longer simply decoding words; instead, they see text as a means to learn about the world, gather information and expand their knowledge. They enjoy books and written language as they read stories and find interesting facts about dinosaurs, architecture and historic figures for example. They are starting to read to learn.
Secondary education: At the secondary level, students are well-versed in reading comprehension, such as identifying cause-and-effect, foreshadowing and inferences, and using questioning and generalizing strategies to better interact with the text. Reading at this level is deeper and text is usually more complex, giving older students the challenge of reading with greater purpose.
Building Opportunities for Teachers with a Master's Degree in Literacy
If you would like to continue to work with students at the level you already teach, a master's degree in literacy provides opportunities to work with both students and teachers, but in a different capacity.
Students who have been identified with special needs or students who are receiving intervention support often benefit from additional time with a reading specialist. Although a special education endorsement or degree is required in most states to assist special education students, teachers with advanced training in reading and literacy often join the support system to provide additional attention.
As a reading specialist, you may become a member of the leadership team at your school as a consultant for classroom teachers. The reading specialist in many schools may create professional development opportunities tailored to the needs of individuals or grade-level teams. In addition, the reading specialist usually maintains a schedule to regularly see students, whether struggling readers or gifted students who would benefit from more challenging texts and conversations.
Professional Opportunities Outside the School Building
For most educators with an advanced degree, career options do not stop at the classroom door. If your goal is to move out of the traditional school building, a master's degree in literacy will serve you well when working with adult learners.
According to ProLiteracy, more than thirty-six million adults in the United States read at a third-grade level or lower. Programs designed to instruct these adults are woefully understaffed, with fewer than ten percent of those in need receiving services. A degree in literacy will prepare you to serve this population.
Like the problem of illiteracy, many adults attempt to learn English as a second language from random conversations at the grocery store or in a doctor's waiting room. In fact, ProLiteracy reports, about 50 percent of the two million immigrants who come to the U.S. each year lack a high school education and proficient English language skills. Teachers with a literacy background can meet the needs of adults who speak limited English and who would benefit socially and professionally from a trained education expert.
Educational Support Opportunities in Business
Some of the coursework included in the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading and Literacy program will prepare you for job opportunities in business.
In particular, the course Educational Technology Applied to the Classroom uses hands-on projects that introduce you to various hardware and software, multimedia authoring tools and communication technology. With this background, you may find opportunities to work with companies that develop digital materials to enhance instruction.
Another course, Utilizing Data for School Improvement, focuses on how data collection and analysis can be used when working with work samples, observation, inquiry, data artifacts and test scores. As schools become more accountable for student success, companies that provide consulting services in school improvement need qualified educators who understand how data-driven instruction is the key to success.
Earning a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading and Literacy from Louisiana State University Shreveport will give you more than a move up on the pay scale. It will provide skills and knowledge you can use to find new and exciting positions in education both inside and outside the school building.
Sources:Learn How to Become: How to Become a Teacher: Teaching Degrees & Careers
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