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Reading Specialist (K-12)

Designed for Working Professionals

The Virginia Tech Reading Specialist Program is a state-approved Curriculum & Instruction program leading to the Reading Specialist Endorsement in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Students can pursue either a Master's (M.A.Ed.) or an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree along with the Reading Specialist endorsement. The program prepares teachers for positions as reading specialists, reading/literacy coaches, or reading/literacy teacher leaders at the elementary, middle, or high school levels.


Completely redesigned - now a 5-semester program! Since 2015, the VT Reading Specialist Program has delivered high-quality, interactive, online courses for working professionals.  Our innovative approach to online instruction helps students focus deeply on one course at a time, while managing the demands of life and work.  


As a student in the reading specialist program, you will develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to transform teaching and learning, conduct groundbreaking research, and lead learning communities within and beyond your school and district. Reimagining the future of education begins with instructional leaders who put educational excellence, innovation, and equity at the fore. Program faculty include widely published, nationally recognized authors and researchers with an average of over 15+ years of experience interfacing with K-12 educators (Amy Price Azano, Donna Fortune, Heidi Anne Mesmer, Trevor Stewart, Dana Robertson, Christine Christianson, and Nancy Bradley). (Google us!)


The Reading Specialist program operates on a cohort model. Members of each reading specialist cohort, M.A.Ed. and Ed.S. students alike, attend all of the same classes in the same sequence and pursue common plans of study.

The benefits of a cohort model are many. It is designed to facilitate social interaction, collaboration, and the formation of a supportive learning community.

Students in cohorts learn from and help each other with the successful completion of coursework and professional networking. They report a strong sense of community and are more likely to complete their programs of study in a timely manner.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Virginia Tech discloses whether its educational programs leading to careers that require licensure meet educational requirements for professional licensure in each state, view the determinations for each state here.

Program Deadlines & Dates

Next cohort begins 2024

Deadline for 2024 cohort application: May 1, 2024

Cohorts limited to 20 participants to ensure personal attention for all students


Reading & Literacy Education News

Reading & Literacy Education Events: Past, Present, and Future


Our Reading Specialist program faculty include widely published, nationally recognized authors and researchers with considerable experience working with K-12 educators.

Donna Fogelsong
Dana Robertson, Associate Professor and Program Leader
dr. amy azano smiles confidently into the camera. she wears a black jacket dress with chunky jewely
Amy Price Azano, Associate Professor of Adolescent Literacy and Rural Education
Nancy Bradley, professor in the School of Education, smiles confidently at the camera, wearing a grey suit and a black shirt. Her blonde hair is short and she wears glasses
Nancy Bradley, Assistant Professor of Practice
dr. christine christianson smiles calmly at the camera, her face framed by black-rimmed glasses. Her long hair is curled at the ends, and she wears a polka dot dress as she stands in front of bookcases
Christine Christianson, Professional Faculty
Donna Fogelsong
Donna Fortune, Assistant Professor of Practice
Dr. heidi mesmer smiles confidently into the camera. she wears dark suit and white blouse
Heidi Anne Mesmer, Professor
dr. trevor stewart smiles confidently into the camera. he wears a tan jacket and blue striped shirt
Trevor T Stewart, Associate Professor


Our Reading Specialist Program is approved by the Virginia Department of Education. It is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation