Master Teacher- Reading Specialist


Emporia State University (ESU) was founded in 1863 when the Kansas Legislature established the Kansas State Normal School. Excellence in teacher preparation has remained a focus through the decades. One in every six classroom teachers in Kansas is an ESU graduate. Recent recognitions include:

  • In 2004, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) reported that the ESU Master Teacher- Reading Specialist Program successfully met all standards for re-accreditation.
  • In 2006, the National Council on Teacher Quality, in a review of a random sample of 72 reading programs, recognized ESU in the first tier (11 colleges/ universities) for the teaching of reading.
  • In 2009, the International Reading Association awarded ESU the Certificate of Distinction for the elementary education reading program.

In the 1960’s, ESU began preparing reading specialists through an accredited program in Kansas. Today, the Reading Specialist program is offered online and designed to:

  • provide the coursework and requirements for a Kansas Initial Specialist License—Reading Specialist through an accredited program. The ESU Reading Specialist Program is accredited by the Kansas State Department of Education and NCATE.
  • provide specialized training for teachers to work with children in the classroom or in reading programs,
  • enhance a teacher’s expertise in reading to serve as a district- or building-level leader as an instructional consultant, reading teacher, or literacy coach.
  • provide coursework that may be transferred to other states with the approval of the licensing state.
  • prepare educators for teaching reading and language arts in a community college.
  • provide master’s level preparation for doctoral programs in reading and language arts.

 Master Teacher candidate reading with a student

ESU Reading Specialist Online Program Options:

Option A: Master Teacher—Reading Specialist (Kansas Reading Specialist License)

To be licensed in Kansas as a reading specialist, the teacher must hold a current professional teaching license, master’s degree, and pass the Praxis (0300) Reading Specialist. All degree requirements must be completed in seven years. Out-of-state applicants seeking a program for licensure must confirm the acceptance of the ESU program in their home state.

Option B: Reading Specialist Licensure Only (Kansas)

For teachers already holding a master’s degree in reading or a related field, the Reading Specialist Licensure Only program requires teacher to take the reading courses listed on the master’s degree, hold a professional teaching license, and to pass the Praxis (0300) Reading Specialist. All course requirements must be completed in seven years.

Option C: Licensure Renewal Non-Degree Seeking

Three of the courses (EL 721, EL 723, EL 725) may be taken for licensure renewal in Kansas. When applying ESU courses to out-of-state licensure renewals, students must confirm acceptance of the coursework with the state’s licensing officer.


Introductory Courses (12 hours)

EL 751 Application of Developmental Theories, 3 hours
EL 821 Reading Curriculum Development & Strategy Instruction, 3 hours
Choose two of three:
EL 815 Foundations of Curriculum Development, K-12, 3 hours
EL 833 Foundations of Education, 3 hours
ED/EL 892 Teaching/Learning Models, 3 hours


Research (3 hours)

ER 752 Analysis of Research, 3 hours

Master Teacher - Reading Specialist

The reading specialist area of concentration serves practicing teachers, elementary or secondary, who wish to acquire initial reading specialist licensure with a master's degree.  (Note:  additional courses, taken as electives, required for reading specialist endorsement.)

    EL 721 Reading Theory & Literacy Practices:  Elementary, 3 hours
    EL 723 Reading Theory & Literacy Practices:  Secondary, 3 hours
    EL 823 Analysis of Reading Assessment & Instruction I, 3 hours
    EL 825 Analysis of Reading Assessment & Instruction II, 3 hours

Electives (9 hours)

The student, with assistance and approval from the advisor, will select nine additional credits of electives.  Note: In order to receive initial reading specialist licensure, the courses listed below MUST be selected as electives. Two additional hours must be completed for the Master’s degree.

EL 725  Teaching Reading to Diverse Learners, 1 hour
EL 827  Practicum in Reading: Elementary, 2 hours 
EL 828  Practicum in Reading: Secondary, 2 hours 
EL 829  Reading Specialist as a Professional, 2 hours

Additional Information

Master Teacher- Reading Specialist Requirements

Reading Specialist-Licensure Only Requirements

Candidate Program Guide

Admission Requirements

Graduate Course Information

KSDE Licensure

Request Further Information