Become a Literacy Coach and Reading Specialist

Advance your career and earn graduate credits via online courses to meet your professional development goals as a literacy coach or reading specialist.



How much will it cost?

2014-2015: $415 per semester hour graduate credit  ($1245 per course)
Tuition is the same for Wisconsin residents, out-of-state and international students.
eTextbooks are included in the tuition fee. 

Reading Specialist Courses

No travel to campus is required.  Each course is 3 graduate credits.

If you are teaching full-time, enrolling in one course per term is the recommendation of the reading faculty. Course assignments require posting responses on the discussion board, reading and replying to other participants' discussion postings, readings, assignments, and field experiences.

RDGED 720 Leading and Directing the Reading Program
Using theory, research data, evidence, and organizational change principles to develop, lead, evaluate, and improve PK-12 literacy and professional development programs. Response to Intervention (RtI) with emphasis on Progress Monitoring in Tier 2 and Tier 3. Leadership in developing and promoting effective literacy programs for all students is emphasized.

RDGED 721 Supporting Literacy Instruction
Supporting teachers in learning about effective reading instruction through literacy coaching, consultation, and ongoing professional development as a literacy leader. Special attention will be given to analyzing data and mastering the complexities of observing, modeling, and providing feedback to teachers.

RDGED 722  Reading Specialist Field Experience
(Prerequisites: completion of RDGED 720 and RDGED 721 and instructor approval) Supervised school-based practicum in reading program implementation and evaluation.  Emphasis is directed toward developing coaching practices, planning professional development programs, and facilitating evidence-based reading programs.


How do I enroll?

Register Online

There is no registration fee to reserve a class.

When is the registration deadline?

Registration is available until each session is filled or two weeks before the course begins.

What other literacy courses are offered online?

RDGED 701 Developmental Reading K-12

RDGED 702 Reading in the Content Areas K-12

RDGED 703 Children's Literature in the Reading Program

RDGED 704 Young Adult Literature in the Reading Program

RDGED 706 Assessment & Evaluation of Reading and Language Development

RDGED 705 Instructional Techniques For Assisting Students with Reading Difficulties

RDGED 707 Practicum in Reading Difficulties (requires completion of prerequisites including instructor approval)


Registration Options

Option A
No application to the program is required for educators who enroll in a single course for:

  • continuing education
  • renewal of a teaching license
  • transfer credits to another university or another state's licensure program
  • professional development to enhance your literacy coaching skills

Option B
Complete the application to enroll in the three courses for the add-on Wisconsin Reading Specialist certification (17) if you hold a current Wisconsin reading teacher license (316).

Option C
Select individual courses or the entire sequence as electives in the Master of Science in Education program.

Application Process

Download the reading specialist certification program application form  if your goal is completion of the add-on Wisconsin Reading Specialist (17) certification.

Email the application with a scanned copy of your reading teaching license to Emily Hines at

Plan A
Apply to the program if you have completed all of the following prerequisites:

  • Wisconsin reading teacher license (316) at the early childhood through adolescent level
  • A Master's degree (minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  • Three years of successful full-time classroom teaching at any of the grades at the early childhood through adolescence level and hold a master’s degree at the time of application for certification.

Plan B
Apply to the program if you have completed all of the following prerequisites:

  • Bachelors degree
  • Wisconsin reading teacher (316) license at the early childhood through adolescent level (minimum GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  • Three years of successful full-time classroom teaching at any of the grades at the early childhood through adolescence level teaching experience
  • Application to the Master of Science in Education program at UW-Stout. (The reading specialist credits apply as elective credit in the master's program.)

Admission Requirements

If you are enrolling in the three courses to complete the add-on Wisconsin Reading Specialist (17) certification, eligibility is determined during Benchmark I by reviewing your application for:

  1. Evidence of your professional development goals and commitment to working with students with reading needs (written statement of goals)
  2. Evidence of your professional development self-analysis and reflection (written statement of goals)
  3. Goals relating to seeking reading specialist certification (written statement of goals)
  4. Evidence of your current reading teacher license (scanned copy of the license)
  5. Evidence of 3.0 GPA or higher in past reading coursework (transcript)

Do I need to apply for admission to the university's graduate program?

No, you do not need to apply for graduate admission to the university unless you are beginning the Masters of Science in Education degree program at University of Wisconsin-Stout.


Reading Specialist Jobs

A reading specialist license is required for any person who directs early childhood through adolescence reading programs or works with reading teachers, classroom teachers, administrators, and others as a resource teacher in reading or literacy coach.

What are the job responsibilities of a reading specialist?

Per s.118.015(3), Wis. Stats., a reading specialist shall: develop and implement a reading curriculum in grades kindergarten to 12, act as a resource person to classroom teachers to implement the reading curriculum, work with administrators to support and implement the reading curriculum, conduct an annual evaluation of the reading curriculum, and coordinate the reading curriculum with other reading programs and other support services within the school district.



  • Expert facilitation by experienced K-12 reading specialists
  • Small, highly interactive classes
  • Professional quality projects for an e-portfolio to aid in job searches
  • Career mentoring
  • Highly competitive tuition
  • Credits may also apply as electives in the Master of Science in Education graduate degree
  • No travel to campus is required
  • Field-based experiences in your school district 
  • Individual courses may be taken to meet professional development goals or to renew a teaching license or to transfer credit to another university
  • Accreditation


Request Info

If you have specific questions or need more information about the application and registration process, request information online. One of our program advisers will contact you or you may phone (715) 642-0209.

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Our Students Say...


This course opened my eyes to the all-encompassing responsibilities of the reading specialist. I feel that I can be a person who can lead change, who can develop and support a reading program through collaboration and communication, and who will make data driven decisions based upon best practice.”
~ Caryl Kidd, Title One Teacher


This course was a great opportunity for me to reflect on myself as a reading specialist/literacy coach and has given me more confidence.”
~ Jaimie Howe, Literacy Coach


The skills I gained will allow me to provide valuable coaching and staff training to make our reading program an effective program for all students. I would like to say that after completing this course I feel much more confident in what I can offer our school district. We know that we have a lot of challenges ahead in regards to our reading program such as reviewing our current program to align with Common Core state standards and preparing our teachers for the RtI requirements.
~ Karen Thoen, Reading Teacher



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