Graduate Reading Program Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to the program?

Applicants must submit an application to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. The application form may be downloaded here. Two official transcripts, your resume, a statement of your education goals, two letters of recommendation, and the $25 application fee must be included with the application.

The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies will determine your eligibility to the program. If you are eligible, your documents will be sent to the Graduate Reading Program. The faculty will review your documentation and send their recommendation for admission back to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Be aware of the application dates posted in the university catalog: applications for admission to the Fall Semester must be submitted by March 15th; applications for admission to the Spring Semester must be submitted by October 15th.

What if I apply after the application dates? Do I have to wait to begin taking classes?

You may choose to enroll for courses as a graduate student-at-large while your application is pending. Enrollment as a graduate-at-large student (see “Graduate-at-Large,” below) is in no way a guarantee of future admission to a degree program. Students choosing to enroll as a graduate-at-large must meet the admission requirements for non-degree status and are advised that certain admission and enrollment restrictions may apply.

Are there any prerequisites to the program?

Applicants are expected to have completed a general education program that includes courses in the natural sciences, biological sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and the humanities.

In addition, the Graduate Reading Program also requires candidates to fulfill course work required to meet State of Illinois requirements. These courses are not a part of the 32-34 hours for completion of the program:

  • Children’s Literature
  • Reading Methods Course with a grade of B or better. This is a requirement before enrolling in any required courses in the Master's Degree Program.
  • Exceptional Child course. This must be taken and passed by the time candidates complete the Master's Degree Program.

In addition to required courses, is there anything else I will have to complete?

In addition to completing the required course work, you will have to meet the following requirements:

  • Two years teaching experience. Documentation is required from an appropriate school official verifying at least two years of full-time teaching in schools recognized by the Illinois Office of Education. This requirement must be satisfied upon completion of the Master's Degree Program.
  • Provide evidence of passing the Illinois Certification Basic Skills Test.
  • Provide evidence of passing APT 104 K-12 prior to completion of READ 5250.
  • Provide evidence of passing Content Area 176: Reading Specialist prior to completion of READ 5260. The Graduate Reading Program offers a review course for those preparing to take the Reading Specialist exam: Read 5092.
  • An approved Graduate Reading Professional Portfolio(GRPP) to be submitted at the end of the program.
  • Research or Thesis project completed by the end of the program. You will be introduced to the Portfolio and Research or Thesis projects during selected courses in the program.

You will also complete field experiences associated with courses. These experiences include the following:

  • provide professional development to your peers and colleagues,
  • demonstrate a teaching strategy or strategies in a K-12 classroom,
  • learn to give a variety of assessments to students in grades K-12,
  • tutor one or more students in grades K-12,
  • collaborate with the parent/s and classroom teacher/s of the K-12 students you are tutoring.
  • attend local school council meetings when possible
  • attend at least two Chicago Area Reading Association conferences (required)

Does the program accept grades of “C”?

Candidates must maintain a 3.0 GPA. If the candidate receives a grade of “C” (unacceptable) in any course, that course may be retaken for a higher grade. It is mandatory for a candidate who receives a grade of “D” or “F” in one of the nine required courses to retake the course. In the graduate reading program, only one course may be repeated for a better grade. Only one “C” may appear on the candidate's final transcript. The candidate will be dismissed from the program after earning a second “C” or lower grade.

I saw in the catalog that we have six years to complete the program. What if something happens, and I can’t finish in six years?

Candidates who realize that they may not be able to complete the program in six years may file a petition to the program, explaining the circumstances and providing a plan for completion. If the program approves of the extension the petition will be presented to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies Council for review. If granted, the extension is usually given for a period of one academic year only. Candidates applying for an extension must be in good academic standing and have no Disposition Complaints in their file.

Graduate Reading Program

The following are the objectives of the Graduate Reading Program M.S.Ed. in the Teaching of Reading:

  1. To prepare practitioners who demonstrate proficiency in the research-based content, pedagogy, and pedagogical content knowledge required to provide meaningful learning experiences that will address the developmental, cultural, and linguistic differences of students.
  2. To prepare practitioners who will use a wide array of research-based instructional strategies, methods, practices, and materials (including technology) to model and scaffold instruction for students, and to assist paraprofessionals and colleagues to model and scaffold instruction.
  3. To prepare practitioners who reflect on teaching and coaching practices and collaborate with paraprofessionals and colleagues to improve teaching practices.
  4. To prepare practitioners who use formal and informal assessment to plan, evaluate, and revise effective instruction, and who effectively communicate the results of assessment to students, parents, colleagues, and community members.
  5. To prepare practitioners who exhibit the values, attitudes, and behaviors that promote literacy and who collaborate with students, families, colleagues, and community members to promote student literacy.