Many factors determine how much a reading specialist can make, including their experience level, geographic location, and also their level of education. If you want to become a reading specialist, you may or may not need a Master’s in Education.
Reading specialists, also called literary specialists, act as literary coaches who work individually with students who need more assistance. School districts all have their own requirements for specialists in literacy, and knowing what’s required in your region or within a certain school district is imperative.
What Do Reading Specialists Do?
The job duties of a Reading or Literacy Specialist vary from employer to employer. However, educators specializing in literacy and reading primarily work in small groups and one-on-one with students who are struggling to make grade-level reading goals. They work with children in elementary, middle, or high schools.
These professionals predominantly work in primary schools and middle schools since this is when most students learn to read. However, some specialists also work with older students and adult students. They will assess a student’s current abilities to determine areas needing improvement and create a plan to intervene outside the child’s regular classroom study.
What are the Daily Duties of a Reading Specialist?
- Diagnosing and assessing students’ reading skills.
- Developing and implementing individualized reading instruction for students.
- Collaborating with classroom teachers to create differentiated reading instruction.
- Utilizing evidence-based practices to plan and deliver instruction.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of reading instruction.
- Identifying and implementing appropriate interventions for students with reading difficulties.
- Promoting a positive learning environment to foster student success.
- Monitoring student progress and providing reports to administrators and parents.
- Facilitating professional development activities and workshops related to reading instruction.
- Participating in research initiatives related to reading instruction.
What is the Difference Between a Reading Teacher, a Literacy Specialist, and a Reading Specialist?
These three roles seem similar, but there are some differences. The job title of Reading Teacher refers to a teacher specializing in teaching students how to read.
A literacy specialist is a teacher who specializes in teaching students how to use language effectively, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
And a Reading Specialist is a teacher who specializes in helping students with reading difficulties. They provide additional support to students who need help with reading through direct instruction or strategies and programs.
What are Some Reading Specialist Job Titles?
Where do reading specialists work? Reading specialists typically work in public and private schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. They may also work in libraries, tutoring centers, and other educational settings. Reading specialists generally work in schools. Below are some related job titles for this profession.
- Reading Intervention Specialist
- Literacy Coach
- Reading Teacher
- Reading Interventionist
- Reading Specialist
- Classroom Teacher
- Reading Intervention Coordinator
- Instructional Coordinators
- Reading Intervention Facilitator
- Special Education Teachers
- Reading Diagnostician
- Reading Intervention Supervisor
- Consultant Reading Intervention Specialist
What Qualities Do Great Literacy Specialists Possess?
Most educators enter the field to instruct students because they are passionate about teaching. However, not everyone is a natural reading specialist. Literacy specialists must possess a passion for reading to hone in on their duties. These professionals must also have patience and empathy when working with students.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Reading Specialist?
- Knowledge of literacy development, reading instruction, and assessment techniques.
- Ability to recognize and assess reading disabilities.
- Proficiency in instructional strategies used to help struggling readers.
- Knowledge of language and literacy development in culturally and linguistically diverse learners.
- Knowledge of the research and theories related to literacy and reading.
- Ability to collaborate with teachers, administrators, and parents.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Ability to use technology for instruction and assessment.
- Understanding of effective methods for teaching reading and writing.
What are the Education Requirements?
Individuals need a bachelor’s degree to specialize in reading in primary, middle, or high school settings. This is the same route prospective teachers will take when entering college to study for their teaching certification. You can earn an undergraduate degree in teaching or education. However, earning a more specific bachelor’s degree in Reading or Literacy might be a better choice.
You must have a minimum Bachelor of Arts in a relevant field to take your tests and earn your license. Once you work in a classroom setting to obtain a post-graduate certification, you can endorse your license as a reading specialist and be eligible to apply for open positions in the field.
Are there Online Reading Specialist Master’s Degrees?
Yes, there are online reading specialist master’s degrees available. These degrees are typically offered through online universities, such as Walden University, the University of Arizona, and also the University of Missouri. Additionally, these programs usually require students to complete courses related to reading instruction, assessment, and curriculum development.
What is a Reading Specialist Degree?
A reading specialist degree is an advanced degree that focuses on teaching reading and literacy skills to students of all ages. It is typically offered at the master’s level and may include courses in language development, assessment and instructional strategies, and reading theories. The degree can be used to pursue a career as a reading specialist in a school, library, or other educational settings.
- Master of Education in Reading Education
- Master of Science in Reading and Literacy Education
- Doctor of Education in Reading Education
- Doctor of Philosophy in Reading Education
- Master of Arts in Reading Education
- Master of Arts in Literacy Education
- Doctor of Philosophy in Literacy Education
- Doctor of Education in Literacy Education
- Master of Science in Reading Education
- Certificate in Reading Education
To earn a Master’s in Education takes two or more years in graduate school focusing on literacy-relevant subject matter. While this is optional in many states, select state boards will require a minimum of a Master’s degree before a professional can endorse their teaching license. The few states who have adopted the Master’s degree credential requirement include Massachusetts, Maryland, and also South Carolina.
Do you Need a Certification or License to be a Reading Specialist?
Yes, in most states, you need a license to be a reading specialist. You may also need a teaching license and a graduate degree, depending on the state. And some states require additional coursework to become certified. A reading specialist certification
In many states, a Reading Specialist certification is a post-masters certification that allows a teacher to become a Reading Specialist. The certification typically requires a teacher to complete additional coursework and supervised field experience related to literacy instruction.
The exact requirements vary by state, though most states require a master’s degree, a certain number of graduate credit hours in literacy-related courses, and a certain number of hours of supervised field experience.
What’s the Salary of a Reading Specialist?
How much does a Reading Specialist make? The average salary for a reading specialist can vary based on experience, geographic location, and the type of employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for grade school reading specialists is $95,310.
What’s the Salary of a Reading Specialist?According to Payscale, reading specialist salaries range from $48,000 to $78,000. And the national average a literacy specialist earns is $54,434 per year or $29.57 per hour. Furthermore, a reading specialist salary can vary from state to state and school to school, depending on the setting.
If the qualifications to be a specialist are worth the investment of time, then take the steps necessary to get credentialed. Make sure to access the qualifications through your state board of licensing. Then set a plan to earn the necessary degree and enroll in an approved Masters in Education program.
Professional Organizations and Resources
Professional organizations for reading specialists can provide tools, education, and networking opportunities to develop your skills and advance your career. They can give you access to reading specialist jobs and resources to help you negotiate a higher salary. Below are some career resources for reading specialists.
- The International Literacy Association (ILA)
- National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
- National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
- National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET)
- For more information about teaching and becoming a teacher, visit
- Teach.org (website)
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
- National Education Association (NEA)
What is the Job Outlook for Reading Specialist?
The job outlook for reading specialists is positive. With the increasing emphasis on literacy, the demand for reading specialists is expected to increase. So, the job market is stable. Furthermore, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the overall employment in education, training, and library occupations to grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031. This is faster than the average for all occupations.
Can Regular Teachers Become Reading Specialists?
Yes. A regular teacher can be a reading specialist but must have the appropriate qualifications and training. To become a reading specialist, a teacher must complete additional education in the field of reading.
This education can include completing a master’s degree program in Reading Education or a Reading Endorsement program. Additionally, teachers must pass a state-mandated competency exam to become certified as reading specialists.