Learning to read is the essential first step on the road to a successful, productive future. Helping children of any age become proficient readers makes a huge difference in their lives, and boosts a school’s overall quality. The Master of Arts in Reading program at Governors State University prepares you to be a reading specialist and to deliver staff development to educators who serve an increasingly diverse student population. You must hold an Illinois (or comparable out-of-state) Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, or Special Education professional educator license and have completed at least two years of appropriate teaching experience prior to candidacy.

Outstanding Preparation

You will take courses in diagnosis, remediation, the psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic foundations of literacy, developing reading programs, and narrative and expository writing instruction. Practicum experiences at both the elementary and secondary levels and completion of an action research project enhance your program at GSU. Knowledge areas and competencies incorporated into the program’s required course work were identified by the Professional Standards and Ethics Committee and the Advisory Group to the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education Joint Task Force of the International Reading Association.

For more information, contact the Program Advisor Carla Johnson.

Meet the Program Faculty

Program Outline

Course Requirements for M.A. in Reading

READ 6190 Narrative and Expository Writing Instruction, K-12 (3)
READ 6200 Psycholinguistic and Sociolinguistic Foundations of Literacy (3)
READ 6210 Survey of Reading: Theory and Practice (3)
READ 6220 Teaching Reading in Content Areas (3)
READ 6230 Integrating Children’s and Adolescents’ Literature Across the Curriculum (3)
READ 7240 Reading Diagnosis (3)
READ 7250 Reading Remediation (3)
READ 8260 Reading Practicum I: Elementary School Reading (3)
READ 8270 Reading Practicum II: Middle and.Secondary School Reading (3)
READ 8828 Seminar in Reading (3)
READ 8830 Developing and Supervising Reading Programs (3)

EDUC 8999 Culminating Experience (3)

Total - 36 Hours


Program Requirements

In addition to meeting all university requirements for a Master’s degree, students:

  1. Must earn “B” or better in each course
  2. May apply a maximum of nine hours of course creditfrom other accredited institutions toward the degree requirements, subject to approval by the faculty of the M.A. in Reading program
  3. Must complete all required course work, including transfer credits, within eight calendar years
  4. Must display the dispositions expected of graduatestudents as listed in the "Teacher Education and Licensure" section of the GSU catalog
  5. Must be admitted to candidacy before being taking READ7240
  6. Must provide evidence of having passed the ICTSExam (176 Reading Specialist) and/or the program comprehensive exam before being admitted to READ7260 or 7270
  7. Must pass the required comprehensive examination for the program during the semester immediately following completion of READ7260 or READ7270, whichever is first
  8. Be recommended by the M.A. in Reading program faculty.

Note: A maximum of nine credit hours of previous graduate reading course work may be applied to the degree requirements. Only courses potentially equivalent to specific M.A. in Reading courses (READ6190, 6200, 6220, and 6230) will be considered. Courses must have been taken no longer than six years prior to application for admission to the M.A. in Reading program. Petitions and documents for these applied credits must be submitted before or at the same time as application for admission to the M.A. in Reading program (i.e., immediately after completing READ6210 and one additional READ course). No courses taken at other institutions after starting course work for the GSU M.A. in Reading may be applied. All petitions for transfer credit will be evaluated by the M.A. in Reading faculty. Under no circumstances will previous course work that does not closely match one of the above GSUREAD courses be applied for credit to the GSU M.A. in Reading degree. Credit hours earned in EDPD or undergraduate courses cannot be applied toward degree requirements. This restriction is necessary in order to maintain the program’s accreditation.


Program Admissions

The M.A. in Reading program is offered in a cohort format. Admission to the M.A. in Reading program is available at two points each year, Summer term and Fall semester. Applications for Summer term admission are due by February 15. Applications for Fall semester admission are due by May 15.

After meeting the university admission criteria, in order to continue in the program, students must, before completing six hours of coursework (which must include at least one of the following courses: READ6200 or READ6210) submit to the College of Education in the supplemental application packet:

  • Transcripts showing a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher in all undergraduate work attempted and all grades in graduate course work at a “B” or better.
  • Syllabi and/or detailed narrative descriptions ofprevious graduate reading coursework to be evaluated for transfer credit (see below for restrictions).
  • Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (General Test), including a score of 4 or higher on the Writing Subtest.
  • A valid Illinois or comparable out-of-state Professional Educator License.
  • Evidence of having passed the Test of Academic Proficiency of the Illinois Certification Testing System or evidence of possessing an Illinois teaching certificate that required passing this test
  • Evidence of two years teaching experience in a recognized public or private school as directed in the application materials prior to candidacy.

This evidence must be submitted before taking READ7240. After the student has completed six semester hours in READ coursework, including READ6200 and/or READ6210, the faculty will review this information and recommend that the student be permitted to continue in the program, continue in the program conditionally, or recommend to the division chair that the student be dismissed from the program. To receive a recommendation to continue, the student must meet the knowledge, skills, and dispositions standards outlined in the "Teacher Education and Licensure" Section of the GSU catalog, as well as earn a
grade of “B” or better in each READ class.


To continue in the program, the student must apply for and be accepted as a candidate for the M.A. in Reading after completing 12 semester hours of graduate course work that must include the following four courses: READ6200, READ6210, READ6220 and one additional READ course listed on the student study plan. Candidacy must be attained prior to enrollment in READ7240. Students must submit to the Division of Education Graduate Advising Office an application for candidacy in the semester they expect to have completed the courses required for candidacy: September 30 for Fall semester, January 31 for Spring semester, or May 31 for Summer term. Application forms are available in the student portal.

To qualify for candidacy, a student must:

  • Have an approved degree study plan and have completed any undergraduate prerequisites for courses on the student study plan.
  • Have completed the courses listed above with a grade of “B” or higher.
  • Receive a positive recommendation from the Reading faculty.

Note: Those applicants who have acquired the ISBE 24 hour Reading Teacher Endorsement through GSU course work (taken no more than six years prior to application for admission to the M.A. in Reading program) must apply for candidacy before the end of the first semester during which they take additional, required courses for ISBE Reading Specialist endorsement/certification and the M.A. in Reading degree.

Student Progress

The faculty continually monitor and evaluate student progress. A more detailed statement of the standards and processes followed by the reading faculty is available in the Graduate Reading Student Handbook located in the student portal.

Academic Advising

Academic Advising

The Division of Education provides professional Academic Advisors to serve the needs of all of its candidates. Your program Academic Advisor is the ideal first contact for:

  • Individuals considering a transfer into this degree program.
  • Newly admitted candidates who need to develop a plan of study, including evaluation of transfer credits.
  • Continuing candidates who have questions or comments on program policies, procedures and requirements.

    The Academic Advisor who works with the M.A. Reading program faculty and candidates is Ms. Carla Johnson. Ms. Johnson's office is located in the Division of Education Academic Advising area. You may contact Ms. Johnson via phone: 708.235.3989 or email cjohnson@govst.edu.