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Reading Specialist Program

Experienced Educators

Earn your Virginia Reading Specialist Endorsement and an M.A.Ed. or Ed.S. degree

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Designed for Working Professionals

The Virginia Tech Reading Specialist Program is a state-approved 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.


Since 2015, the VT Reading Specialist Program has delivered high-quality, interactive, online courses for working professionals.  On occasion and with school district commitment, face-to-face courses have been offered in local communities or at one of Virginia’s six regional higher education centers.  More typically, students complete two seven-week online courses per semester (one in the first half of the semester, another in the second half).  This innovative approach to online instruction helps students focus deeply on one course at a time, while managing the demands of life and work.  The reading specialist degree program can be completed in as few as five semesters.


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.


The reading specialist program uses 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 cohort model 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. Students who participate in cohort models generally report a strong sense of belonging and are more likely to complete their programs of study in a timely manner.

Program Deadlines & Dates

Application Type:



After July 1


April 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Subject to remaining availability


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


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

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Heidi Anne Mesmer, Professor and Program Leader
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Amy Price Azano, Associate Professor of Adolescent Literacy and Rural Education
Nancy Bradley
Nancy Bradley, Assistant Professor of Practice
Donna Fogelsong
Donna Fortune, Assistant Professor of Practice
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Kristin M. Gehsmann, Professor
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Trevor T Stewart, Associate Professor
Donna Fogelsong
Dana Robertson, Associate Professor