Standards for Reading Professionals

Revised role definitions as of August 2007

Category I: The Paraprofessional

Assists in regular education, special education, or reading and writing education in graded or age-grouped classrooms at preschool through high school levels, and in after-school and summer programs.

Has two-year postsecondary degree with an emphasis on human development and educational processes and, for those paraprofessionals who provide reading instruction, 12 semester credit hours, or the equivalent, in literacy and language development.

Category II: The Classroom Teacher

Teaches at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school level. This category also includes adult continuing education.

Develops children’s reading and related language arts; includes content area teachers who integrate literacy instruction with subject learning.

Has undergraduate or graduate degree that includes a minimum of 12 hours for preK–grade 5 and a minimum of 6 hours for grades 6–12 teachers of coursework in reading and reading instruction.

Category III: The Reading Specialist

Works at the early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, and/or adult levels.

Fulfills a number of responsibilities and many have a specific focus that further defines their duties. For example, a reading specialist can serve as a teacher for students experiencing reading difficulties; as a literacy or reading coach; or as a supervisor or coordinator of reading/literacy. The reading specialist must be prepared to fulfill the duties of all three of these:

  • A reading intervention teacher is a reading specialist who provides intensive instruction to struggling readers. Such instruction may be provided either within or outside the students’ classrooms.
  • A reading coach or a literacy coach is a reading specialist who focuses on providing professional development for teachers by providing them with the additional support needed to implement various instructional programs and practices. They provide essential leadership for the school’s entire literacy program by helping create and supervise a long-term staff development process that supports both the development and implementation of the literacy program over months and years. These individuals need to have experiences that enable them to provide effective professional development for the teachers in their schools.
  • A reading supervisor or reading coordinator is a reading specialist who is responsible for developing, leading, and evaluating a school reading program, from kindergarten through grade 12. They may assume some of the same responsibilities as the literacy coach, but in addition have responsibilities that require them to work more with systematic change at the school level. These individuals need to have experiences that enable them to work effectively as an administrator and to be able to develop and lead effective professional development programs.

May also include these additional responsibilities:

  • Serves as a resource in the area of reading for paraprofessionals, teachers, administrators, and the community.
  • Works cooperatively and collaboratively with other professionals in planning programs to meet the needs of diverse populations of learners.
  • Provides professional development opportunities at the local and state levels.
  • Provides leadership in student advocacy.

It is expected that the reading specialist will meet the following qualifications:

  • Previous teaching experience
  • Master’s degree with concentration in reading education
  • A minimum of 24 graduate semester hours in reading and language arts and related courses
  • An additional 6 semester hours of supervised practicum experience.

Category IV: The Reading Teacher Educator

  • Provides instruction to candidates at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • Participates in scholarly work, including researching, writing, and professional development.
  • Forges university–school partnerships with other educational agencies to promote the advancement of literacy.
  • Has a minimum of three years’ teaching experience including the teaching of reading.
  • Has a terminal degree that focuses on reading and reading instruction.

Category V: The Administrator

  • Includes principals and superintendents.
  • Recognizes and supports reading professionals as they plan, implement, and evaluate effective reading instruction.
  • Principals (K–12) have a minimum of 6 credits hours in reading and related language arts.

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