Jul 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Post-Baccalaureate Reading Specialist PK-12

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Department Contact:

Director: Dr. Melissa Peppetti, mpeppetti@francis.edu, 814-472-3068

Program Description:

The Reading Specialist PK-12 program is designed for teachers interested in pursuing advanced skills in literacy education. The program provides advanced study for elementary and secondary educators interested in increasing their professional knowledge base and skills in literacy through the curriculum and through leadership. The program seeks to facilitate the students’ ability to be analytical, reflective decision-makers. Courses are designed to link educational theory and classroom practice for application in students’ current or future professional settings. Students will be prepared to complete the Praxis exam for certification as a Reading Specialist.

Teachers need to know how to teach and to utilize a variety of methods designed to meet students’ needs and to maximize the probability of learning. This course of study is designed to address all of the major components of reading, the best practices for instruction, the inclusion of fostering motivation to read, and the integration of reading with other related skills in the language arts. In addition, candidates will be prepared to conduct appropriate and meaningful assessment of individual reading skills and interpret them for meaningful instruction, including individually administered diagnostic assessments and standardized group reading assessments. Candidates will be required to engage in extensive field experiences to ensure that their developing skills and knowledge are applied beyond the theoretical text instruction.

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  • The program requires certification candidates to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental concepts of reading and competence in teaching K-12 students reading including: I.A. Historical perspective, methodologies and theories of language and reading acquisition and development. 
  • The professional education program provides evidence of the candidates participation in sequential and developmental field experiences and student teaching, under the supervision of college personnel and cooperating teachers who are well trained, have interpersonal skills and demonstrated competence in teaching. (Candidates that possess an initial Instructional certificate shall be required to complete the required competencies in lieu of student teaching.) The program also provides evidence that the criteria and competencies for exit from the Reading Specialist program are assessed during the field experiences and student teaching and require the candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and competence in fostering student learning. 
  • The professional education program provides evidence that Reading Specialist certification candidates demonstrate knowledge and competencies that foster professionalism in school and community settings. 

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 2 years of part-time study

Accreditation Statement:

The teacher preparation and certification programs offered at Saint Francis University at the undergraduate and graduate level are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA, 17126; (717)783-6788. PDE approved preparation programs are designed to prepare and certify educators to teach or serve in the schools of the Commonwealth. www.education.pde.gov 

Admission Requirements:

Students must apply for admission into the program. The Graduate Education department will review all applicants throughout the year and candidates will receive an acceptance letter from the Director. In order to be considered for application, applicants must submit the following information:

  • Online Application
  • A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 is required. If candidate’s GPA is less than 3.0; he or she may be accepted on a provisional basis while taking up to nine (9) credits. The student must obtain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the first nine credits to be admitted to the program. If these requirements are not met the student will not be admitted to the program.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work completed;
  • Copy of Instructional Certificate;

Admissions Deadline:

The program has rolling admission. New cohorts begin every other summer semester.

Technical Standards or Essential Functions:

Saint Francis University is committed to the principle that no qualified individual, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits or services, programs or activities of the University, or be subjected to discrimination by the University as required by the Americans with Disability Act. The Education Department adheres to the policies for academic accommodation as determined by the Center for Academic Success. The Center’s Office of Disability Services assists eligible students in receiving basic services as determined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act. Every effort is made to arrange appropriate academic accommodations for students who experience physical or mental disabilities. Students are required to provide appropriate documentation to the accessibility coordinator upon request of the accommodation.

Progression and/or Retention Criteria:

  • Students must complete their program within five (5) years of their initial enrollment.  
  • A minimum average of 3.0 must be maintained throughout the program. If a student falls below the 3.0 requirement he or she will be placed on academic probation for the next semester. Student’s continued eligibility in the program will depend on the GPA in the semester following the low GPA. If the student’s GPA does not go above the 3.0, after being placed on probation, the student is subject to dismissal from the program. 

Certification and/or Licensure:

Upon completion of the program requirements, candidate must pass the Pennsylvania Reading Specialist Praxis test. Upon successful completion of this test, candidate will be recommended by Saint Francis University for certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Teacher Information Management Systems (TIMS).

Total Credits Required:

24 credits


Students will have 100 hours of clinical observations upon completion of this program. These clinical hours may be completed in the student’s current place of employment with instructor permission.

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