MEd: Elementary Education /
Reading Emphasis
Master of Education in Elementary Education, emphasis in Reading

Innovative education... Engaged educators

Specialize in Literacy

The Master of Arts in Elementary Education, emphasis in Literacy provides elementary school teachers with advanced knowledge of research, theory and practice in reading and language arts, with a strong emphasis on teaching literacy to students who are in diverse settings. This program prepares beginning teachers to teach literacy and to integrate literacy instruction within and across content areas. It also prepares experienced teachers to become literacy specialists or literacy coaches through our Literacy Specialist program (K-12).

Teachers in this program take literacy courses with professors who are nationally and internationally known experts in the field of literacy education. These courses include the latest research and teaching strategies for preparing students to be literate with 21st century literacies, three of which are clinical courses that are associated with the Burnett Literacy Clinic. The Literacy Clinic is a collaborative learning site that focuses on the preparation of future teacher leaders and researchers. Teachers in the Literacy Clinic provide reading and writing assessment and instruction to children, adolescents and adults in the community. They also design family literacy practices with parents who come to the Clinic. Teachers enrolled in the Masters of Elementary Education, emphasis in literacy program have the opportunity to use the resources associated with the Literacy Clinic. These resources include: the newest instructional videos in the field of literacy education; a multicultural, leveled book room; and each year the Literacy Clinic invites a literacy researcher to campus to share new advances in the field.

Many of the teachers in this program also work toward their state Reading Certification, an endorsement that positions teachers to assume leadership roles in literacy coaching, curriculum and instruction or professional development.

Master of Education (MEd)

Contact Advisor:

Susan Johnson

116 South Campus Classroom Building (SCCB)
p: (314) 516-5938

Deadlines to Apply:
Fall - July 1
Spring - December 1
Summer - May 1


Slide 1 Education alumna Kendra Vaughn’s creative teaching gets kids reading
Reading Specialist Kendra Vaughn has helped numerous students in the Hazelwood School District learn to love reading after graduating from UMSL with an MEd in 2005. Her 17-year career and teaching style has earned her an Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award and landed her on NCI’s 30 Leaders in their Thirties list, among other honors. (Photo by Marisol Ramirez)

The requirements below detail multiple emphases in this program. Keywords have been highlighted to draw your attention to this particular emphasis.

Master of Education: Elementary Education

  • Early Childhood emphasis
  • General emphasis
  • Reading emphasis

The Masters in Elementary Education is appropriate for early childhood and elementary teachers, specialists, department chairpersons, and those who work in informal or international educational settings. Candidates choose two 9 hour concentration areas that will support their personal growth and development as an educational leader. It is important that both students and advisors plan ahead to insure courses in concentration areas are taken when they are offered in the 3 year rotation schedule. Programs must be planned with the academic advisor and meet the approval of the faculty advisor, adhering to the College of Education and UMSL Graduate School policies.

Concentration area choices will appear at the end of the M.Ed. transcript. 

General Emphasis Program for ELE ED

The M.Ed. in Elementary Education consists of 15 required hours (5 courses) plus student choice of two 9 hour concentrations from the list below. The General emphasis requirements are met by (a) completing three required foundational courses (9 hrs.) toward the beginning of the M.Ed. program, (b) completing the coursework for two choice concentration areas (2*9 hrs each), and (c) completing the two exit capstone research classes (6 hrs.) for a total of 33 hours.

Concentration areas indicate zero to three REQUIRED courses; some then offer a list of course CHOICE selections as a menu to choose your remaining hours for that concentration. ALL Concentration choices total nine hours of graduate credit.

An Elective Concentration allows students, with advisor sign-off, to construct an individualized set of target courses for 1 of their 2 concentration areas. Transfer graduate credit from another institution could also fit into this concentration choice. Finally, those who want to take 9 graduate hours in an academic content area may use the Discipline Content Area Concentration to integrate this advanced work into their M.Ed. program.

Reading and Early Childhood Emphasis Areas for ELE ED

Students who applied to the reading or early childhood emphasis areas and wish to focus intensively (e.g. 18 hrs) in one area of expertise  are required to sign up for two sequential 9 hour concentrations.  Those in reading should select the Literacy I and II concentrations.   Those in early childhood should select the Early Childhood I and II concentrations.  Additional coursework may be required for licensure.

1) Required Core (9 hours)
Students are required to complete the following courses within the first 15 hours of study.
TCH ED 6010Examining History, Community And Social Justice In Education3
TCH ED 6020Teacher Action, Advocacy and Leadership3
ED PSY 6030Instruction, Learning And Assessment3
2) Required Research Course (6 hours)
These two research courses should be taken in sequence (not together) at the end of your program since the first course prepares you with the knowledge and skills to successfully complete an Action Research project in the capstone exit course. You will design and execute a piece of original practitioner research and present your findings in a public forum.
TCH ED 6909Teacher Action Research I3
TCH ED 6910Teacher Action Research Capstone 13

 This course is not offered in summer sessions.

3) 9 hour Concentration Choices (CHOOSE 2 or both Concentrations I & II under an emphasis option as indicated)

a) Early Childhood Concentrations I and II (Option A or B)
b) Curriculum and Instruction Concentration
c) Literacy Concentrations I and II (Certificates in Reading and Writing available)
d) Special Education Concentration
e) Social Justice Issues Concentration (Social Justice in Education Certificate available)
f) Leadership in Education Concentration
g) STEM Concentration
h) Discipline Content Area Concentration
i) Elective Concentration
j) Supporting Language Learners: TESOL Concentration I (DESE TESOL endorsement available under SEC ED)
k) Middle School Education Concentration

Early Childhood Education Concentration I and II (Options A & B): 9 hours each

Designed to enable candidates to further their competencies as teachers or program administrators in public and private early childhood program, early childhood education also prepares people for positions in community agencies that support families and young children. Job opportunities working with young children continue to expand. New research tools have altered our understanding of learning processes in young children with the plasticity of the brain and children’s gift for inquiry in systematic ways. Language acquisition and numeracy are acquired in social communities of practice. Explore this exciting field. Concentration I is designed for those who want to increase knowledge and skills in working with young children in school, after school, and home settings. Concentration II is geared for professionals in field.

Early Childhood Concentration I: *Courses offered online*

Required Courses:
ECH ED 6412Foundations of Early Childhood Education3
ECH ED 6413Educational Role of Play3
ED PSY 6215Psychology Of Early Childhood Development3

Early Childhood Concentration II: Choice A: 9 hours *Courses offered online*

ECH ED 6321Parent and Community Resources in Early Childhood Education3
ECH ED 6415Organization and Development of Early Childhood Programs3
EDUC 6404Seminar1-10

Early Childhood Special Education Concentration II: Choice B: 9 hours *Courses are NOT offered on line*

SPEC ED 6372Screening And Diagnosis Of Developmental Delays: Birth To 5 Years3
SPEC ED 6462Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education3
SPEC ED 6463Curriculum, Methods, and Materials for Early Childhood Special Ed3

Curriculum and Instruction Concentration: 9 hours

In order for all students to optimally achieve, teachers must develop integrated, standards-based, innovative curriculum delivered as engaging instruction that equips students to develop the knowledge and skills for a global society. This concentration explores common issues in curriculum design and implementation. Educators will create curriculum and design instruction for their own educational settings.

ELE ED 6411Curriculum Leadership Elementary Programs3
ELE ED 6422Curriculum Design of Elementary Programs3
ELE ED 6423Learning Through Inquiry3

Literacy Concentrations I: 9 hours

Concentration I is designed for educators who want a deeper understanding of reading and writing processes across the lifespan. This area emphasizes the preparation of leaders in a wide range of school and community settings, including literacy coaches or grade-level leaders. Concentration I emphasizes cutting-edge theory, research and instructional practices in literacy education. Concentration II, for those wanting a Literacy endorsement, applies these understandings through a variety of readings, writings and experiences, both in Clinical and online settings. There are two choices for Concentration II: Writing and Reading. Students who complete Concentrations I and II in Literacy can apply these courses to a K-12 DESE reading certificate or the UMSL Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing, but additional coursework may be required.

ELE ED 6387Literacy Acquisition and Learning for Diverse Students3
ELE ED 6684Instructional Strategies for Teaching Reading3
ELE ED 6686Analysis and Correction of Reading Disabilities3

Literacy Concentration II: 9 hours Choice A:

Courses to complete the Reading emphasis Certification

The M.Ed. program with Emphasis in Reading (literacy) is designed to enable candidates to further their competencies as teachers of reading, writing, and the other communication arts. The program also prepares them for positions as literacy coaches, reading specialists, curriculum specialists in communication arts and reading areas, consultants in areas of communication arts, and/or for further graduate study. Concentration II enables a student to earn a master’s degree in education with credit towards an Emphasis in Reading as per requirements laid out by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for special reading certification in Missouri. Students must complete the required 15 hours of M.Ed. courses, an educational psychology course, plus 18 hours of literacy courses.

ELE ED 6493Reading Specialist Practicum I3
ELE ED 6494Reading Specialist Practicum II3
TCH ED 4391Literacy for Adolescent Learners in Content Areas3

Concentration II: 9 hours Choice B:

Courses to complete the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing

Applicants who wish to earn a Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing must apply for admission to the certificate program. Applicants must have a 2.75 GPA in undergraduate coursework to be admitted. A background in K-12 or adult education is desirable.

TCH ED 6880Gateway Writing Project6
TCH ED 6890Seminar in Professional Writing for Teachers3

Special Education Concentration: 9 hours

For educators who are not receiving a degree in Special Education, but would like to expand their understanding of Special Education law and the needs of students with cross-categorical disabilities and those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, this concentration offers coursework on the characteristics and effective strategies for teaching students with varied abilities in educational settings. Those interested in the M.Ed. in Special Education or the Graduate Certificate in Autism and Developmental Disabilities should choose concentrations in those designated programs under the Masters in Special Education or Autism Certificate links in Bulletin.

Choose three of the following:9
SPEC ED 6325Advanced Studies in Classroom & Behavior Management3
SPEC ED 6345Characteristics and Education of Students with High-Incidence Disabilities3
SPEC ED 6415The Law and Special Education3
SPEC ED 6437Applied Behavior Analysis: Functional Assessment and Interventions3

Social Justice Issues Concentration: 9 hours

Educators need to challenge themselves to understand the variety of assets diverse students and their families bring to educational contexts. An interdisciplinary group of courses is offered for this concentration that invite personal growth and academic knowledge in the area of social justice. An emphasis on engagement and action permeates the course activities.  (With completion of TCH ED 6010,TCH ED 6020 and TCH ED 6910 and 9 hours from the list below, students will meet requirements for the Social Justice in Education Certificate. (Applicants who wish to earn a Graduate Certificate in Social Justice in Education must apply for admission to the certificate program.)

Choose three of the following:
CNS ED 6820Counseling Women Toward Empowerment3
CNS ED 6850Social Class and Poverty Issues In Counseling3
ED FND 6203Political Contexts Of Education3
GS 5053Advanced Studies In African-American History3
TCH ED 6230Cross-Cultural Communication in the Classroom3

Leadership in Education Concentration: 9 hours

Organizations need leaders who understand the complexities of systems and working with diverse staff and families within situated communities in a dynamic and changing educational environment. Leadership skills can be taught and nurtured. This Leadership in Education concentration allows educators in various roles and career levels to apply principles of leadership to creating effective communities of practice.

Reuired Courses:
ED ADM 6503Organizational Change in Education3
Choose two of the following:
ED FND 6200Demographic Contexts of Education3
ED FND 6203Political Contexts Of Education3
ED ADM 6205Legal Contexts of Education3
ED ADM 6401School Staff Development and Supervision3

STEM Concentration: 9 hours

Many challenges remain in the attraction and preparation of youth for the careers in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Those who teach in these areas need to continually work toward developing and implementing relevant curricula and develop new instructional strategies as well as revise and upgrade current methodology. The STEM Concentration focuses on professional development with respect to instructional research and best practices for all involved in enhancing STEM literacy.

Choose three of the following:
ELE ED 6431STEM Instruction in Elementary Education 3
or SEC ED 6431 STEM Instruction in Secondary Education
ED TECH 5340Selection and Utilization of Educational Multimedia3
ED TECH 6436Computer-Mediated Communication in Education3
ED TECH 6448Technology-Supported Inquiry Learning3
Graduate Level Science or Math course3

Discipline Content Area Concentration: 9 hours

Educators recognize the importance of staying current in their field of teaching. This Discipline Content Concentration allows for 9 hours of graduate level credit in a content area related to one’s field of practice. This includes graduate credit in areas such as history, English, math, science, foreign language, health and PE, and art and music. Courses for this concentration need to be approved by advisors before they are included on the M-1 program form.

Elective Concentration: 9 hours

To insure maximum flexibility in course selection to meet the individual needs of professional educator’s development, this concentration represents an opportunity to select three unique courses from the various concentration areas in an eclectic and personalized way. Choices to include in this concentration need to be approved by advisors and signed off on by the program director.

Supporting Language Learners: TESOL Concentration I: 9 hours

This concentration is designed for those who want to better understand Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) processes. Courses emphasize the theoretical foundations of Second Language Acquisition and TESOL and their practical application to practice. Concentration I is open to all Masters in Education students. A TESOL endorsement from DESE is available under the SEC ED M.Ed. options.

TCH ED 6210Applied Linguistics for Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages3
TCH ED 6220Principles of Second/Foreign Language Acquisition3
TCH ED 6230Cross-Cultural Communication in the Classroom3

 Middle School Education Concentration: 9 hours

The concentration in middle level education is designed for graduate students who would like to further their competencies as a middle level educator.

Choose three of the following:
TCH ED 5312Differentiated Instruction3
ED PSY 6222Advanced Studies in Child and Adolescent Development3
ED ADM 6401School Staff Development and Supervision3
SEC ED 6416Curriculum Design for Educational Programs3

Emphasis in Reading

The M.Ed. program with Emphasis in Reading (literacy) is designed to enable candidates to further their competencies as teachers of reading, writing, and the other communication arts. The program also prepares them for positions as literacy coaches, reading specialists, curriculum specialist in communication arts and reading areas, consultants in areas of communication arts, and/or for further graduate study. The following program enables the student to earn a M.Ed. with an Emphasis in Reading while fulfilling the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s requirements for special reading certification in Missouri. Students must complete the first two levels of the Required Core, an educational psychology course, an approved educational research course, 18 hours of literacy courses, and an action research capstone course. The minimum required and recommended courses are as follows:

Required Core (9 hours)
TCH ED 6010Examining History, Community And Social Justice In Education3
TCH ED 6020Teacher Action, Advocacy And Leadership3
ED PSY 6030Instruction, Learning And Assessment 13
Required Research Course – Evaluation of Abilities and Achievement (3 hours)
Choose one course. Dependent on student needs and interests.3
ED REM 6707
Classroom Measurement And Evaluation
ED REM 6709
Educational And Psychological Measurement
ED REM 6716
Academic Assessment and Intervention
Reading Concentration (18 hours):
Required Courses
ELE ED 6387Literacy Acquisition And Learning For Diverse Students3
ELE ED 6684Instructional Strategies For Teaching Reading3
ELE ED 6686Analysis And Correction Of Reading Disabilities3
ELE ED 6493Reading Specialist Practicum I3
ELE ED 6494Reading Specialist Practicum II3
And at least one course from the literacy-related elective list or from the certification-related elective list below (min. 3 hrs):
Literacy Related Electives
ELE ED 6436Children's Literature I: Survey And Analysis3
ELE ED 6688Literacy Assessment To Guide Instruction3
ENGL 6880Gateway Writing Project3-6
TCH ED 5312Differentiated Instruction4
Capstone Course (3 hours)
ELE ED 6482Problems And Research In Teaching Elementary School3

A graduate level course in child psychology or adolescent psychology may be substituted if needed for certification.
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Rebecca Rogers, Ph.D.

Dr. Rogers is an educational researcher who specializes in literacy studies, teacher learning and critical discourse studies. Her research focuses on the socio-political contexts of literacy and language education and situates critical discourse analysis within an ethnographic tradition. She has pub...
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Gwendolyn Y. Turner, Ed.D.
Founders Professor

Professor Turner received her Ed.D. and M.Ed. from the University of Arkansas and her BA from Arkansas State University. She has served as a Social Studies Teacher, Reading and Communications Specialist, Adult Educator, Educational Consultant and Teacher Educator. She has served as a board member of...