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Concentration Area / Graduate Certificate


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MS - Instructional Specialist: Dyslexia Concentration / Graduate Certificate

The dyslexia program is intended for teachers to develop an understanding of dyslexia and effective ways to assess and instruct students with dyslexia tendencies. Our program studying dyslexia lets people take the courses as part of a master’s degree of instructional specialist with a concentration in dyslexia or as a stand-alone graduate certificate.

Every component of the program — except practicum experiences — is offered online.

Practicum experiences are embedded throughout the program for students to take theory and put it into practice. Teachers are empowered to provide evidence-based instruction and support for students at-risk or identified with dyslexia. All courses in this concentration/certificate are offered online.

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This online program is designed following the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Knowledge and Practice Standards.

This program does not lead to a teaching license.

From theory to practice, teachers are empowered to provide evidence-based instruction and support for students at-risk or identified with dyslexia.

The program is available online and is designed to:

  • Examine the role of language and neurobiological and cognitive processing required for reading and writing
  • Apply structured literacy and multisensory instruction to support the development of strands of word recognition skills and language comprehension skills
  • Synthesize the specialized body of knowledge from cognitive psychology, speech pathology, education, and neurobiology in understanding and addressing the specific needs of students at-risk or identified with dyslexia
  • Apply the content through practicum experiences

Dyslexia Program Coursework

The graduate dyslexia certificate and the Instructional Specialist: Dyslexia Concentration master’s degree consist of five graduate courses for 15 hours of credit. The courses focus on developing an understanding of dyslexia and effective ways to assess and instruct students with dyslexia tendencies. The courses are aligned with the International Dyslexia Association Knowledge and Practice Standards.

The dyslexia certificate and the dyslexia concentration within the Instructional Specialist master’s degree do not lead to a change in teacher licensure.


EL743 Meeting the Challenges of Dyslexia (3 hrs)

An introductory course to dyslexia, covering the Knowledge and Practice IDA standards. The course will examine the definition and characteristics of dyslexia. Topics in the course will examine the domains of language, factors, and reciprocal relationship between phonology and orthography in the science of reading.

EL737 Science of Reading Foundations I (3 hrs)

This course emphasizes literacy acquisition, reader profiles and the phases of typical developmental progression by examining evidence-based instruction within a structured literacy framework for teaching phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and other foundational skill.

EL739 Science of Reading Foundations II 3 credit hrs

This is the third course in the series of courses on dyslexia. This course extends structured literacy, multisensory instruction to vocabulary, comprehension, writing, spelling, handwriting and applicable assessments for these particular areas. Course content will focus on understanding evidence-based strategies and applying these during a brief practicum experience.

EL827 Assessing & Instructing Learners: Literacy Practicum (3 hrs)

(Prerequisite EL 823 and Instructor Permission) Students will apply knowledge and skills from EL 823 by working with a reader with a reading disability. The student will gather materials, tutor and assess a student for a minimum of 25 hours, and write a diagnostic/prescriptive summary.

Select one: EL823 Analysis of Reading Assessment & Instruction (3 hrs) OR

(Prerequisites, EL 721 and EL 723) This course is designed to provide the reading specialist or classroom teacher with the knowledge, skills, and processes to assess and analyze reading performance and provide effective research-based instruction for the primary, intermediate, and advance level readers (preK-12th grade levels).

SD803 Promoting Literacy for Students with High Incidence Disabilities (depending on concentration) (3 hrs)

(Prerequisites: SD 700 and SD 702) The focus of this course is to provide candidates with the background knowledge, current research, and instructional design that make up a literacy program. The course content will cover the critical elements of language and literacy; identifies and uses evidence-based interventions to meet the instructional needs specific to reading, writing, math and other content areas; and includes the principles of universal design for learning and the use of technology to support literacy and to make data-based decisions.


Admission Requirements

Courses are designed for:

  • Education graduate students or teachers who are eligible to hold a Kansas teaching license
  • Emporia State University undergraduate education students who are eligible for Block 2, have at least 90 undergraduate hours, senior status, and working toward teacher licensure

Reading Specialist

EL823 and EL827 are reciprocal courses with the Reading Specialist master’s and licensure programs.

Special Education

Students can apply coursework from ESU's high incidence special education master’s program to the dyslexia certificate. Students can take two courses (six hours) from the dyslexia certificate coursework and use them for the electives (six hours) in the special education high incidence master’s degree. Students can also apply SD803 in the dyslexia certificate program, effectively allowing them to use three out of the five dyslexia courses as part of their high incidence master’s program.

How to Contact Us


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Mailing Address

Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education
Emporia State University
1 Kellogg Circle
Campus Box 4036
Emporia, KS 66801

Physical Address

Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education
(on the ESU main campus)
1701 Morse Road
Visser Hall, 2nd Floor
Main Office, Rm 241