Teaching Literacy: Classroom Focus

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  • Master of Science in Education: 40 credits

Deepen your preparation for working with the literacy needs of children in your classroom

Earn certification as a Literacy Specialist and change your initial certification to professional

Susan Goetz-HaverSusan Goetz-Haver
Program Director

Teaching Literacy: Focus on Classroom Teaching is especially designed for teachers who hold, or are in the process of earning, initial New York State certification in Childhood Education or Early Childhood Education. This program is right for you if you want to deepen your literacy teaching skills by creating effective literacy instruction for diverse classroom and clinical settings.  You will be prepared to work with children from a range of socio-economic backgrounds and with diverse linguisitic and developmental needs. You will also develop teaching approaches that enable you to apply your knowledge to assess, design, and implement lessons that meet the strengths and needs of different literacy learners.

Distinctive Features

  • Learn from core literacy graduate faculty mentors, master teachers who have extensive backgrounds working with children classroom and clinical settings.
  • Differentiate instruction so you can motivate students, strengthen reading and writing abilities, and select and implement powerful literacy resources.
  • Explore cutting edge theoretical perspectives and immerse yourself in innovative classroom practices.

Certification in Education

After you graduate, you will be eligible for professional New York State certification as a litercy specialist (birth through grade 6). This master's degree will also lead to professional certification in your area of initial certification after you have taught for three years. 


Courses at Bank Street provide students with the opportunity to engage in readings, discussions, direct experience, and reflection, encouraging a constant interplay between theory and practice. Explore the courses for the Teaching Literacy program.

Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

The integration of coursework and field experiences is central to a Bank Street education. You will learn to observe, engage and educate children based on a solid grounding in classroom and clinical teaching practices.

  • Work in an elementary classroom (1-6) as a full-time assistant or head teacher, with an additional after school or summer clinical placement or in classroom settings and classroom and clinical settings as a student teacher (3 full days each week).
  • Participate in a weekly collaborative conference group with your advisor and 5-7 other graduate students. You will have an opportunity to engage in ongoing in-depth conversations about teaching and learning.
  • Benefit from individual meetings with your advisor twice each month.

Admission Requirements

  • Mature, self -aware and committed individuals who are excited about teaching and learning. There is an expectation of an ability and willingness to be reflective about one's own practices and work with children.
  • Excellent academic record and references.
  • Initial certification in Early Childhood or Childhood General Education. If you hold a certificate from another state, you can apply for New York certification through interstate reciprocity. Click here for an outline of the process.
  • See the Admissions Criteria.

Career Opportunities

  • Graduates with Literacy Specialist Degree obtain classroom jobs, preschool through sixth grade range, in public, charter or independent schools.
  • Graduates also work as Reading Specialists in public, charter or independent schools.
  • Those graduates who choose to teach outside of New York State can usually arrange for reciprocity for teaching certification in their new location.