Graduate Catalog

2012 – 2013

Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education
McKelvie Hall, 102 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2943
Fax: 610-436-2763

Revised June 2018


108 Recitation Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Dr. Mayor, Chairperson
Dr. Flanigan, Graduate Coordinator

Professors [top]

Dena Beeghly, Ed.D., University of Georgia
Daniel Darigan, Ph.D., University of Oregon
Scott C. Greenwood, Ed.D., Lehigh University

Associate Professors

Susan Caroff, Ph.D., Purdue University
Kevin W. Flanigan, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Sunita Nayar Mayor, Ed.D., University of Cincinnati

Assistant Professors

Diane Santori, Ed.D, University of Pennsylvania
Heather Ruetschlin Schugar, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Carol A. Smith, Ed.D., Widener University

Programs of Study [top]

The Department of Literacy offers the master of education degree with a major in reading and reading specialist certification. Students who complete either program are recommended for Pennsylvania certification as a reading specialist. These programs prepare candidates to serve in reading specialist positions and as classroom teachers of reading in elementary or secondary schools.

In 1997, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education implemented revisions to the Pennsylvania School Code. These revisions require all students who apply for Pennsylvania reading specialist certificates to pass competency tests.

As changes are made in requirements for reading specialist certification, it is the student's responsibility to satisfy the new requirements.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. In addition, they must meet an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) entry requirement of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 calculated on the last 48 credits earned. The total cumulative undergraduate GPA must be at least 3.0. Students who cannot meet this requirement must take either the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A satisfactory score as determined by the department on the GRE or MAT will demonstrate a student's academic competence in lieu of the required GPA.

Applicants must possess initial teaching certification.

Applicants must submit three letters of professional recommendation.

Formal Admission to Reading Specialist Certification Program

(for Reading Specialist Certification Candidates)

  1. Students must meet the above program entry requirements.
  2. Students must file a form in the Certification Office listing required courses for certification.

Precandidacy Requirements

(for M.Ed. Candidates Only)

  1. Students must apply for candidacy after the completion of 15 credits.
  2. Courses required within the precandidacy period include EDR 505, 507, 509, 512, and one additional course from the prescribed program.
  3. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 during the precandidacy period.

Degree Requirements

In addition to meeting degree requirements of the University, the candidate must

  1. Successfully complete 30 credits in literacy and six additional credits in professional education. Workshops will not be accepted to satisfy this requirement.
  2. Achieve an overall GPA of at least 3.0.
  3. Perform satisfactorily on the comprehensive examination in reading.

Students are responsible for meeting all requirements within the specified time.

The Comprehensive Examination

Students are eligible for the comprehensive examination after they have completed all reading courses and have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The examination is given the first Saturday in February, the last Saturday in June, and the first Saturday in October. Application for the examination must be made in writing to the graduate coordinator by December 1 for the February examination, April 1 for the June examination, and July 1 for the October examination. Candidates who fail the comprehensive examination are permitted one re-examination within a two-year period. Candidates who fail the re-examination are dropped from the degree program.

Master of Education in Reading [top]

Curriculum (36 semester hours)

  1. Professional education requirements (6 semester hours)
    Two courses, chosen under advisement, from the following:
    EDA 511, 541; EDE 551; EDF 501, 510, 589; EDP 550, 569; EDT 500; EDR 545, 604; LAN/ENG 569
  2. Reading education requirements (30 semester hours)
    EDR 505, 507, 509, 512, 514, 515, 516, 519, 532, and 541

Certificate of Preparation in ESL Teaching

Requirements for the certification program:

  1. The student must possess an Instructional I Certificate.
  2. Courses required within the first 15 credits are EDR 505, 507, 509, 512.
  3. The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0.
  4. In order to obtain the certificate, the student must successfully complete the reading education courses listed as part of the M.Ed. in reading program. The student is not required to take the two courses in professional education but must meet any additional state requirements.
  5. The student must perform successfully on the comprehensive examination.
  6. Students must pass the competency test (Praxis) required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Certificate of Preparation in ESL Teaching program.

Literacy Certificate (18 semester hours)

The literacy certificate is an 18-credit graduate certificate (not a teaching certification). Admission requirements are the same as for an M.Ed. in reading. Courses required are EDR 505, 507, 509, 512, 514, and 515. Credits earned for the literacy certificate may be applied to an M.Ed. in reading and/or reading specialist certification.

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Literacy Certificate program.

Literacy Coaching Certificate (12 semester hours)

Admission requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above, two letters of recommendation, Instructional II Certificate, reading specialist certification, and a minimum of three years' successful teaching experience.

Required courses are EDE 605 and EDR 602, 604, and 606.

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program.

Course Descriptions [top]

Symbol: EDR

503 Language Arts Pre-K–4 (3) An exploration of theory and practice for developing a supportive language-arts environment, with a focus on facilitating the development of language competencies–writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and visually representing–in children. PREREQ: EGP 501.

505 Orthographic Knowledge, Language, and Literacy Development (3) The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the development of orthographic knowledge from its earliest awareness to its full fruition and its relation to language and literacy acquisition and instruction. Students will learn how to assess children's orthographic knowledge and use this knowledge to plan instruction. Each student will assess and tutor a child over the course of a semester.

507 Comprehension and Vocabulary: Development and Instruction (3) This course introduces students to the theoretical bases of comprehension and vocabulary development. Best practices in teaching, supporting, and assessing comprehension and vocabulary will be an integral part of the course.

509 Writing Development and Instruction (3) Strategies for teaching the language arts. Methods, materials, and resources for organizing creative programs in school settings. This course is crosslisted as EDE 509.

510 Foundations of Reading Instruction: K-12 (3) Psychology and pedagogy of reading instruction. The nature of the reading process, the nature of the learner, skill development, instructional strategies.

512 Literacy Practicum and Seminar I (3) The focus is on practical techniques for recording and representing literacy learning, and understanding the effects different instructional techniques have on student learning. Major attention is given to understanding a child's language and literacy development, and planning and carrying out appropriate instruction for that child. Students will use a variety of formal and informal assessments to design an individual instructional program. An extra hour of tutoring beyond classroom time is required. PREREQ: EDR 505, 507, 509, 516.

513 Reading in Pre-K–4 Classrooms (3) An introduction to the teaching profession within the context of the contemporary Pre-K–4 classroom. Thirty hours of supervised fieldwork are required. PREREQ or COREQ: EGP 501. PREREQ: Field clearances.

514 Reading in the Content Areas (3) Reading skills, reading problems, teaching techniques, and reading activities in content subjects at the elementary and secondary levels. PREREQ: EDR 505, 507, 509.

515 Teaching Reading with Children's and Adolescents' Literature (3) Based on the philosophy that literature should be an integral element of reading programs. The emphasis is on fostering wide reading and response to literature in K-12 reading programs. Students will learn instructional strategies and develop materials and a selected bibliography. PREREQ: EDR 505, 507, 509.

516 Problems in Literacy Development (3) The purpose of this course is to acquaint the student with the theoretical bases and the nature of differences in literacy development. The developmental nature of literacy growth and the importance of instruction within students' zone of proximal development will be explored. Students will investigate how literacy differences are influenced by social, emotional, psychological, physical, and educational factors. Best practices in teaching, supporting, and assessing students with literacy differences will be an integral part of the course. An extra hour of tutoring beyond classroom time is required.

517 Current Practices in Teaching Developmental and Corrective Reading (3) Developmental and corrective reading instruction. Attention is given to diagnostic procedures and resulting appropriate instruction. PREREQ: EDR 510, 516.

518 Language Arts for Grades 4–8 (3) A study of theory, trends, curriculum, and pedagogy for integrating languages arts across the curriculum in grades 4 through 8, with emphasis on connections among listening, speaking, writing, and reading. PREREQ: EDP 501.

519 Issues of Diversity in Teaching Reading (3) Historical, cultural, and educational contexts of literacy, language, and learning as they relate to reading instruction. PREREQ: EDR 515.

523 Reading as a Language Process (3) Basic concepts from areas of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, and psychology will be related to the teaching of reading in grades K-12.

526 Emerging Literacy and Beginning Reading: A Whole Language Approach (3) Concerned with young children's literacy development from preschool through the primary grades. Emphasis on instructional recommendations and implementations for a range of abilities. Included are supervised one-on-one and/or small group teaching experiences. PREREQ: 510 or permission of instructor.

528 Reading in Grades 4–8 (3) An exploration of current research and practice to prepare candidates to utilize a balanced approach to teach reading to children and young adolescents in grades 4 through 8. PREREQ: EDP 501.

532 Literacy Practicum and Seminar II (3) A laboratory course in assessment and instruction of independent readers/writers. PREREQ: EDR 516, 519.

535 Language, Learning, and Literacy (3) The developmental nature of language and the critical links between language, learning, and literacy. Major theories of language and literacy and links to practice. Individual variation, class, gender, dialect, and ethnicity related to language and literacy.

538 Literacy Field Experience Grades 4-8 (3) A field-based course designed to enable its participants to review, practice, and investigate various approaches to planning, teaching, and evaluating literacy practices within the context of a weekly, grade 4–8 reading practicum.

540 Seminar in Reading (3) Critical examination of trends, opinions, and current research in the teaching of reading. PREREQ: EDR 516 or permission of instructor.

541 Organization and Supervision of Literacy Programs: K-12 (3) Development, organization, and supervision of literacy programs K-12. Emphasis is on the use of the total school community in meeting individual needs. PREREQ: EDR 516, 519.

542 Seminar in Reading Research (3) Practical application of the reading specialist role in organizing and operating a school literacy program in a K-12 environment. PREREQ: EDR 532 or permission of instructor.

545 Literacy Development for Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms (3) This course is designed to help students understand literacy acquisition and development for students with disabilities. The course will focus on the challenges that reading and writing pose for students with disabilities, and resulting appropriate assessment and instructional techniques. Response to Intervention Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction will be addressed. Content area literacy for students with disabilities will be included.

549 Theory and Trends in the Language Arts (3) Analysis and evaluation of language arts programs, including reading in the modern elementary school. PREREQ: EDE 548. This course is crosslisted as EDE 549.

590 Independent Study (1-6) Individual investigation and exploration of related reading research. Topic must be approved by the supervising instructor prior to registration.

591-598 Workshop in Literacy Education (1-6) Literacy education workshops will focus on different aspects of literacy instruction. Specific topics will be announced in advance.

602 Literacy Coaching and Professional Development (3) Students will examine the roles of literacy coaches, approaches to coaching, and their underlying conceptual frameworks. Topics will include conducting coaching cycles, collaborating and providing support to teachers, analyzing and designing literacy programs, designing and implementing needs-based professional development.

604 Literacy Program Evaluation and Data Analysis (3) This course is designed to help candidates understand how to collect, analyze, interpret, and communicate results for reading assessments administered at the school, state, national, and international levels.

606 Practicum and Seminar in Literacy Coaching (3) Participants will learn how to conduct model lessons, collect data on teachers' professional development and students' instructional needs, and apply the coaching cycle to promote continuous improvement of literacy instruction in a supervised practicum setting.