Reading (MA)

Volume 1: 2022.2023

Effective 1 June 2022 through 31 May 2023

Please see the Graduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program is offered by the School of Education and is available via Live Virtual (100% synchronous modality). 

Program Description

The nationally recognized master of arts in reading is designed for pre-K-12th grade teachers who desire to increase their expertise in teaching reading or want to become a reading specialist or literacy coach. This program consists of coursework required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for the Reading Specialist Certification. Students completing the 33 credit hours for the MA in reading may qualify to earn a graduate certificate in dyslexia, where the certificate is available. To gain the certificate, students must pay a second graduation fee. The program is aligned with the International Literacy Association's Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017) and with the International Dyslexia Association's Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (2018).

Learning Outcomes

The following are learning outcomes for this major:

  • Develop a strong knowledge base in foundations of literacy and the reading process.
  • Learn about and be able to demonstrate and use best literacy practices drawn from theory and research.
  • Become proficient in using a wide range of methods and materials, including visual media and technology, to meet needs of diverse learners.
  • Employ formal and informal assessments to identify strengths and needs of all learners and to inform teaching of whole group, small group and individual students.
  • Become effective in creating positive literacy environments to motivate and engage all learners.
  • Collaborate with teachers, school leaders, families and the community to enrich or reform practices.
  • Serve as a coach or supervisor to support excellence in teaching reading and as a leader to develop and support reading initiatives.
  • Engage in self-reflection and assessment for ongoing professional development.


All reading majors take the following required courses:

Core Courses

  • READ 5190 Advanced Studies in Language Development and Acquisition (3 hours)
  • READ 5235 Understanding Diverse Reading Profiles, Including Dyslexia (3 hours)
  • SPED 5270 Advocating for Persons with Disabilities (3 hours)
  • SPED 5240 Psychoeducational Assessment (3 hours)

Reading Coursework

  • READ 5950 Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Disabilities (3 hours)
  • READ 5412 Instructional Methods for Diverse Reading Profiles, Including Dyslexia (3 hours)
  • READ 5777 Literacy Coaching (3 hours)
  • READ 5940 Literacy Strategies K-12 (3 hours)

Clinical Coursework

  • READ 5970 Practicum in Diagnosis of Reading Problems (3 hours)
  • READ 5980 Practicum in Remediation (3 hours)

Electives (Choose One)

  • COMM 5340 Language Arts Seminars: Children's Writing (3 hours)
  • Any EDTC course with the approval of the director (3 hours)
  • Any additional course required for certification 
    • CMAT 5505 Psychological Foundations of Education (3 hours)
    • CMAT 5170 Classroom and Behavioral Management (3 hours)
    • SPED 5860 Psychology of the Exceptional Child (3 hours)

If candidates have extensive experience and prior graduate coursework in a specific area, advisors may approve alternatives. Students may transfer up to 6 credit hours of prior graduate work not used for another degree. A total of 33 credit hours are required for completion of the program. A sequential MA in reading is offered as a second master's degree consisting of 21 hours of reading coursework.

Special Reading Certification

A valid Missouri teacher’s certificate and two years of classroom teaching experience are needed before special reading certification, K-12, can be granted through Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This MA in reading includes 27 hours of required coursework for a reading specialist certification:

  • Three reading methods courses (READ 5412, READ 5235, READ 5940) (9 hours)
  • Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Disabilities (READ 5950) (3 hours)
  • Advanced Studies in Language Development and Acquisition (READ 5190) (3 hours)
  • Advocating for Persons with Disabilities (SPED 5270) (3 hours)
  • Psychoeducational Assessment (SPED 5240) (3 hours)
  • Practicum in Diagnosis of Reading Problems (READ 5970) (3 hours)
  • Practicum in Remediation (READ 5980) (3 hours)

Additional courses are required by DESE for the reading specialist certification, but may be taken as an undergraduate or at the graduate level.

  • Child Psychology (3 hours)
  • Adolescent Psychology (3 hours)
  • Psychology of the Exceptional Child (3 hours)
  • Behavior Management Techniques (3 hours)

One of these may be taken as an elective in the Webster program.

Following admission and after an initial meeting with the director of the reading program, students interested in pursuing special reading certification should have their transcripts evaluated by the Webster University Certification Office for prior coursework. Reading faculty members serve as mentors/advisors throughout the program.

After successfully completing 12 credit hours within the major, all MA degree-seeking students are required to be advanced to candidacy.


See the Admission section of this catalog for general admission requirements. Students interested in applying must submit their application online at Transcripts should be sent from your institution electronically to If this service is not available, send transcripts to:

Office of Admission
Webster University
470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119 

Additional Requirements

Requirements for admission to the MA in reading program include:

  • Receipt of official transcripts from the baccalaureate granting institution.
  • Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Advancement to Candidacy

Automatic advancement to candidacy (ATC) is based on 12 credit hours of 3.0 GPA graduate level READ courses.