COE: MEd: Elementary Education | Reading Emphasis
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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.

Logo for National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC SARA)

National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC SARA)

To determine if this program meets the reciprocity requirements for like state educational certification programs outside the state of Missouri, follow this link for further contact information and resources.

Master of Education (MEd)

Contact Advisors:

Marty Woytus & Susan Johnson

116 South Campus Classroom Building (SCCB)
p: (314) 516-5930

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


Slide 1 Education alumna Deitra Colquitt selected for Voices of Change Writing Fellowship
Deitra Colquitt, a four-time graduate of the UMSL College of Education and co-principal at Pershing Elementary School, is one of eight educators in the United States to take part in the paid fellowship. EdSurge is matching Colquitt with an editor to chronicle her experiences as a school leader at Pershing during the 2021-22 school year. (Photo by August Jennewein)
Slide 2 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.

The master’s degree in Elementary Education is an accredited program appropriate for elementary teachers, specialists, department chairpersons, and those who work in informal learning or international educational settings. Candidates choose electives that will support their personal growth and development as an educational leader to impact the communities with which they work.

Diverse candidates will engage in a learner-centered environment committed to the success of historically marginalized and diverse students, research, and community engagement. Within diverse education settings, candidates will: advance pedagogical knowledge, recognize inequalities in educational opportunity, design differentiated assessments to inform practice, critically examine professional practice, and demonstrate commitment to ethical professional practice.  

It is important that both candidates and advisors plan ahead to ensure courses are taken when they are offered in the schedule. Programs must be planned with an academic advisor and meet the approval of the faculty advisor, adhering to the College of Education and UMSL Graduate School policies.

Curricular Program for Elementary Education

The M.Ed. in Elementary Education consists of 4 required courses (12 hours) plus candidate choice from emphasis areas and electives. The general program option requirements are met by (a) completing 2 required foundation courses (6 hrs.) toward the beginning of the M.Ed. program, (b) completing the coursework for an emphasis area (9-18 hrs.), and (c) completing the 2 exit research capstone classes (6 hrs.) for a total of 30 hours.

Most emphasis areas indicate 3-6 required courses. In addition, electives allow candidates to construct an individualized set of target courses. Transfer graduate credit from another institution may also fit into elective hours.

Emphasis areas offered in ELE ED include General, Reading, Early Childhood Education, and Special Education. For the General emphasis, students take 18 hours of electives. Reading may require additional coursework for licensure, as noted. For a Curriculum & Instruction emphasis, students select the 3 Curriculum & Instruction courses and an additional 3 electives. Those who want to take 9 graduate hours in an academic content area may use the additional 3 electives to integrate this advanced work into their M.Ed. program. Required 12 hours of M.Ed. core courses plus an additional 18 hours of graduate level courses.  

Required Core
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
ED PSY 6030Instruction, Learning, and Assessment3
Required Research Courses
These two research courses should be taken in sequence (not concurrently) at the end of the program. Candidates will design and execute a piece of original practitioner research and present their findings in a public forum.
TCH ED 6909Teacher Action Research I3
TCH ED 6910Teacher Action Research Capstone3
Total Hours12

The M.Ed. program with emphasis in Reading (K-12 literacy) is designed to enable candidates to further their competencies as teachers of reading, writing and other communication arts. The program also prepares them for positions as literacy coaches, reading specialists, curriculum specialists, consultants in areas of communication arts, and/or for further graduate study. This program may lead to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requirements for Special Reading K-12 certification in Missouri.

To be recommended for Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Special Reading Certification K-12, teachers must have a valid Missouri teacher’s certificate, two years of approved classroom teaching experience as determined by DESE, successful completion of any required DESE assessments, and the following:

  • A course(s) in child and adolescent psychology (3-6 hours)
  • A course in psychology/education of exceptional child (3 hours)
  • A course in reading in the content area (3 hours)
  • A course in language acquisition or development specifically targeting children with special needs (3 hours)
  • A course in behavior intervention strategies (3 hours)
  • A course in counseling techniques (3 hours)

These certification requirements may be in addition to the courses listed in the program of study above. Students should consult their graduate advisor for information about these courses.

Required Core
Candidates are required to complete the following courses within the first 15 hours of study:
TCH ED 6010Examining History, Community and Social Justice in Education3
ED PSY 6030Instruction, Learning, and Assessment3
Required Evaluation of Abilities and Achievement Course
ED REM 6716Academic Assessment and Intervention3
Required Capstone Course
The capstone course is completed at the end of the program.
ELE ED 6482Problems and Research in Teaching Elementary School3
Total Hours12

Emphasis Area Requirements

In addition to the required courses above (12 hours), candidates seeking an Emphasis in Reading are required to complete the following coursework (18 hours) for a program total of 30 hours.

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
Literacy Related Elective3
Total Hours18

Total: 30 hours

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Rebecca Rogers, Ph.D.
E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Tutorial Education

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 published seven books and over 80 articles and chapters in national and intern...
DESE Special Reading (Grades K-12) Certification