Reading Education Graduate Courses and Requirements

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The Department of Reading Education and Special Education offers a Master of Arts degree in Reading Education, General to persons who are interested in the teaching of reading and the language arts. The department provides a well-balanced program of academic and practicum experiences designed to produce graduates capable of providing quality services to the region, state, and nation. The program prepares classroom teachers and reading specialists to teach all aspects of reading and the language arts to K-12 students representing a wide range of diversity in abilities and culture.

Course Descriptions

Core Reading Courses

RE 5100 Teaching Beginning Readers and Writers: Introduces various approaches to teaching beginning readers and writers (K-3). There is an emphasis on teaching methods that capitalize on the language competence students bring with them to school. Word recognition, comprehension, and writing instruction are considered within the framework of a meaningful, integrated reading/language arts program.

RE 5130 Teaching the Language Arts: A study of the latest research, practices, interpretation, methods, materials and strategies in teaching the language arts.

RE 5140 Advanced Study of Children's Literature: Provides an opportunity for students to extend their knowledge of children's books. Emphasis will be placed on an examination of the history of major publishers of children's literature, multicultural perspectives in reading and writing, and the theories of response to literature. Consideration will be given to how literature contributes to learning and language development.

*RE 5710 Seminar in Reading and Language Arts Research: Current theory and research in reading and the language arts are examined. Students select a topic to pursue in-depth study and apply outcomes to classroom teaching. Emphasis is placed on assisting teachers to be leaders in school settings. Research course must be taken prior to this course. Take at the end of your program.

RE 5715 Reading Assessment and Correction: An in-depth examination of informal reading assessment practices and remedial teaching techniques. This course includes practicum experiences in administering and interpreting informal word recognition, contextual reading, and spelling instruments.

RE 5725 Practicum in the Clinical Teaching of Reading: Provides students with a closely supervised practicum experience in which they assess and teach children/adolescents who are experiencing reading difficulties. Also, take RE 5531 Seminar in the Clinical Teaching of Reading at the same time as RE 5725.

RE 5730 Reading and Writing Instruction for Intermediate and Advanced Learners: Explores strategies for helping students use reading and writing as tools for comprehension of texts and for learning in content area disciplines. A broad cultural view of literacy forms the context for reviewing the research on strategic teaching and learning. The general focus is on third-grade through adult learners.

RE 5735 Practicum in Teaching Severely Disabled Readers: This course provides a supervised clinical teaching experience with severely disabled readers. Students are guided in the use of systematic multisensory reading instruction. The topic of reading disability is investigated through semester-long seminars. (Offered frequently as an elective.)

Research Requirement

RE 5040 Teacher as Researcher: This course is intended to enable participants to understand the traditions of research in the scientific community; engage in critical inquiry into the major activities comprising the practice of teaching, as outlined in the conceptual framework; understand that to inquire into, to reflect on, and to transform practice requires a cultural-historical understanding of the practices; become aware of the professional resources related to the teacher-as-researcher; understand that the environment (classroom, school, school system, community, and related institutions) are proper arenas of inquiry for the teacher-as-researcher; master and appropriate the general and domain-specific tools (concepts and methods) used by teacher-researchers from particular disciplines; formulate and communicate a problem in his or her professional practice, a plan of inquiry on the problem, reflect on the results, and make recommendations for practice; and develop a personal model of inquiry and reflection on practice, understanding that a reflective practitioner continually evaluates the effects of choices and actions on others (student, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally. As such this course provides an opportunity for practitioners to start from an area of interest or concern in their professional practice and, by "problematizing" it, to open it up to inquiry leading to systematic observation, reflection, and planned action. The ultimate goal is that the inquiry should lead to an improvement in practice and to an increased understanding of research issues in educational settings, both theoretical and practical.

RES 5560 Classroom Assessment: A survey of key measurement and assessment concepts needed by classroom teachers. The course focuses on developing and using classroom assessments, including informal observations, that are linked to instructional objectives and classroom practices, and on the interpretation of state-mandated, formal assessments. Traditional forms of assessment along with newer forms of assessment, including performance assessments and portfolio assessments, are emphasized. Students will also receive instruction on applying ABC tools, software provided by the State of North Carolina, for analyzing ABC test results. Students will be required to complete action research projects related to classroom assessment practices.

RES 5000 Research in Education: The primary purpose of this course is to enable practitioners to read, interpret, and conduct research aimed at improving their practice in their professions. The course includes a study of research methods, including those used in action research, experimental, non-experimental, and qualitative research, evaluation, and policy analysis designs.

Social/Anthropological/Philosophical Foundations of Education Requirement

FDN 5840 Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education: An examination of the philosophical assumptions which appear to influence education policy decisions and an examination of social forces which impact on education--particularly the process we call schooling. Inquiry into significant social and philosophical issues in education is a major component.

*Comprehensive Exam (RE 5710)
Students are required to pass a comprehensive exam that is given in the final semester of coursework. The research course must be taken prior to students enrolling in RE 5710. Students should be enrolled in RE 5710 when they take the comprehensive exam--the course will help prepare students for the exam. Students write an essay response to an on-site integrated question, covering the following topical areas: beginning reading processes and instruction; reading and writing assessment and clinical teaching strategies; literature response and language arts teaching techniques; metacognition, engagement, and comprehension theories, research, and teaching strategies. These topics span major focus areas of the courses in the program. In addition, students will complete a major paper as part of the exam. Options include producing a critical bibliography and short review for a topic area selected by the student; producing a report of action research, or writing a professional paper for publication in a state level journal. More information about the comprehensive exam can be obtained by contacting the Reading/Language Arts faculty.

Product of Learning (RE 5525)
Students are required to complete the product of learning in RE 5525, taken at the end of the program. The product of learning is intended to help students synthesize concepts learned in the Master's program and apply them to classroom settings. One option for the product of learning is the completion of a Master's thesis. Another option is the development of a professional portfolio. The portfolio consists of a series of artifacts and reflections which document that graduates have achieved the program goals of: (1) demonstrating knowledge of learners and the reading-writing processes--responding effectively with instruction to student diversity in ability and culture; (2) demonstrating instructional expertise in literacy theory and instruction--advanced knowledge of curriculum and pedagogy appropriate to elementary, middle school, and high school students; (3) demonstrating and ability to connect subject matter to learners' needs--organizing instruction developmentally and coherently while connecting to the standard course of study; (4) demonstrating research expertise--applying research techniques to answer questions about classroom instruction, directing personal and professional growth as a teacher; and (5) demonstrating collaborative leadership in teaching. Courses in the program will require assignments that will lead to the completion of artifacts for the portfolio. For example, action research projects will be assigned in designated courses, and these will contribute to the portfolio. In this way the students will be constructing their portfolios as they move through the program. The construction of the portfolio culminates in RE 5525 Product of Learning, where students will finalize the portfolio and present it to peers and lead teachers. The use of technology is a major requirement for the final construction and presentation of the portfolio. It is best to take RE 5525 and RE 5710 as the last courses in the program of study.