Master’s Degree: Reading and Writing Concentration

The Reading and Writing concentration prepares experienced educators for leadership roles in literacy education through programs of study leading to the M.Ed., including the option of Massachusetts licensure as a Reading Specialist (K-12). The concentration is designed to:

  • increase understanding of critical multiliteracies (i.e., reading, writing, listening, speaking, representing, and viewing) as complex social practices through which people communicate, express feelings and thoughts, learn, share experiences, generate knowledge, construct social relations, and act on their social worlds
  • prepare educational leaders to define and design environments in which the linguistic, cognitive, social, and cultural strengths of all learners are valued and nurtured and in which equitable access is offered to multiple literacies required for full participation in a multicultural, multilingual democratic society
  • prepare educational leaders to design teaching approaches that maintain the integrity of multiliteracies as practices of communication, meaning-making, and social participation and action
  • prepare educational leaders to develop and share knowledge and insights about reading, writing, listening, speaking, representing, and viewing with colleagues, administrators, families, and learners in ways that engage all participants meaningfully and purposefully

The knowledge base for the Reading and Writing concentration involves four areas: (1) knowledge about speaking, listening, writing, reading, representing, and viewing; (2) knowledge about learning/teaching multiliteracies; (3) knowledge about learners; and (4) knowledge about the dynamism among the sociocultural processes and practices of schools, families and communities. 

Each of these areas involves three types of knowledge: knowledge acquired from disciplinary fields (e.g., anthropology, sociocultural theories of learning, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, educational research, etc.); knowledge about how to generate knowledge (e.g., modes of inquiry, teacher research); and knowledge from reflection on one's own experiences and social practices as a language user, speaker, listener, reader, writer, designer (e.g., enlisting multimodalities for representing learning), viewer, learner, and teacher.

Students in this concentration will have a  variety of learning experiences, including coursework, field-based projects in both schools and community settings, and, for those seeking licensure, a practicum. All students are required to upload assessments to their master’s- and/or licensure-related online portfolios (i.e. TK20). 

Admissions Criteria

Admission to the concentration requires: (1) a Bachelor's degree, preferably with a major in a language-related field (e.g., English, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, or education); (2) a record of one year full-time teaching experience, or the equivalent, which demonstrates high-quality teaching and professional growth.  (If  students plan to obtain Reading Specialist Licensure, they must have completed one year of full-time experience under an initial licensure in elementary, early childhood, a foreign language, English or language arts, before applying for their Reading Specialist License;) (3) Evidence (including, but not limited to, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and previous academic record) of the ability to successfully carry out an intellectually challenging graduate program. (Candidates for licensure as a Reading Specialist must hold an initial, and preferably a professional, Massachusetts teaching license at the early childhood, elementary, middle or high school level, or the equivalent.)

In addition, admission is based on (1) a teaching philosophy compatible with the philosophy of the concentration, (2) a demonstrated commitment to the profession (e.g., participation in professional learning experiences in the school district and/or in professional organizations), and (3) a commitment to equity in education and a deep respect for and great interest in cultural and linguistic diversity evidence by such things as activities in community organizations, instructional experiences working with underserved populations, and other sustained professional engagements with these communities. 

While not a requirement for admission, fluency or near-fluency in a language other than English and experience in multilingual and multicultural settings are considered highly competitive advantages.

Admission Requirements

To apply to the Master’s Program, you should:

  • submit a personal statement, which articulates your interest in our program and the prior credentials and professional experiences, particular professional or research interests, and your future career goals.
  • have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 (over 4.0 total) or above (*The program admissions committee may consider applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75, only if their personal statement clearly describes how they overcame obstacles and how they will be able to handle rigorous academic work).
  • submit all college transcripts
  • submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation
  • Advanced Practitioner candidates must demonstrate evidence of teaching experience in formal and/or informal settings such as experience planning and teaching lessons in your own classroom or similar setting.  Career changers, (e.g. individuals with significant experience in a prior career path) are required to submit a one-page explanation of how your prior experiences will inform your career in education.
  • The deadline for fall admission is January 2nd.

Please note that the program does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Tests or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

* Applicants whose first language is not English must prove their ability to speak and understand English by taking TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language 80 as minimum), IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System 6.5).

Click here for an application.

Contact Information

Concentration Coordinator:  K.C. Nat Turner (Associate Professor)

Associated Faculty

Theresa Austin (Professor), Maria José Botelho (Associate Professor), Barbara Hruska (Lecturer), Nina Kositsky (Lecturer), Sonia Nieto (Professor Emerita), Marsha Rudman (Professor Emerita), K.C. Nat Turner (Associate Professor), Laura A. Valdiviezo (Associate Professor), and Jerri Willett (Professor Emerita).