Beginning November 7, 2022 MLI will be accepting applicants for the second cohort of the year-long Reading Specialist Certification Program, beginning May 2023.

Through this certification program, we seek to empower literacy teachers in their literacy content knowledge and instructional practice as they seek to provide robust learning experiences grounded in research-based practices that allow all students to experience dignity, power, and freedom through literacy.

This program is designed for K-12 literacy teachers. Graduate coursework, clinical experiences, and the Reading Specialist licensing process will provide participants with content knowledge and skills relevant to a variety of contexts:

-K-12 Gen Ed Reading teachers who desire to stay in the classroom and refine their practice and expand their literacy content knowledge; this program will support classroom teachers by helping them become more effective literacy teachers, particularly by supporting them in growing their diagnostic practice of supporting struggling readers

-K-12 Reading teachers who hope to pursue career advancement by specializing in reading so that they are eligible to become an interventionist, reading specialist, or literacy coach

-ESL and SPED teachers who hope to expand their practice of designing reading intervention and individualized instruction


Our goal is to attract a cohort of 25 Reading Specialist participants who represent the diversity of our city in terms of gender, race, and teaching context.

– The third cohort will run May 2023 through summer 2024

– 21 credit hours of graduate coursework: Majority of credit hours taught in person, with some courses offered online to support working professionals

– Summer clinical experiences with students participating in MTR Camp (June 12 – June 30, 2023)

– Opportunity to seek additional degree in addition to Reading Specialist Certification

– Eligibility: Any local Memphis teacher with a minimum of two years of experience as Teacher of Record, including MTR second and third year graduates, and MTR alumni


The Reading Specialist Program fee will be $5000 for the 21-hour Certification program ($238/credit hour).  MTR graduates and alumni will receive a 50% discount ($2500).  Participants should expect to pay $667 as a course materials fee in addition to purchasing individual course texts for coursework (approximately an additional $100 expense). MTR will cover course materials fee for MTR family members. Applications will be open from November 7, 2022 – March 9, 2023.


Foundations of Literacy I (6 hours)
In this course, candidates will understand that reading development is a complex process as they explore why reading is difficult for many students. Rooted in key research, candidates will learn about the specific neurological processes that occur during reading.  This class will cover how language and literacy are related, emphasizing the early development of reading, including phonological awareness, phonics, decoding, spelling, orthography, fluency, syllabication, assessments, and early intervention strategies. Candidates will apply course learning to their current work with students, complete lesson plans, and participate in an ongoing case study.

Summer Clinical
Candidates will apply concepts from Foundations of Literacy I in this clinical experience in partnership with MTR camp. Foundations of Literacy I professor team will provide coaching and targeted support

Foundations of Literacy II (3 hours)
This course focuses on vocabulary and comprehension development. Candidates will understand reading comprehension, sentence structure, and text structure. Candidates will also study key strategies to support these domains, exploring the connection between reading and writing. Candidates will apply their learning through an ongoing case study, analyzing student work, and planning instruction based on core competencies from the course. This core will prepare students to implement text-driven instruction and design purposeful and effective scaffolds to support reading comprehension.

Reading, Assessment, Diagnosis, & Intervention (3 hours)
This course will present students with best and current practices and principles of assessment across the curriculum. Topics will include reliability, validity, bias, performance assessment, standardized test score interpretation, and formative assessment. The formal and informal instruments and procedures will be studied with emphasis on formative assessment and the principles of effective, standards-based instruction. Design and administration and interpretation of assessment measures is the primary focus of this course.

Inclusionary Practices (3 hours)
This course is designed to develop the ability to use a variety of instructional approaches as needed to support multiple ways for P12 students to access knowledge, represent knowledge, and demonstrate the attainment of academic goals and competencies. Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of the learner and the doing. This course is designed to support teaching to meet student differences and needs in a sensitive and reflective manner by discussing issues related to diverse classrooms.

Writing Across the Curriculum (3 hours)
This course is designed to study theories and specific examples on the teaching of writing. Candidates will build a skill set for empowering, supporting, and providing feedback to developing writers. Students will focus on the interdependence of a child’s language, reading, and writing, and the implications these have for academic achievement and personal development over time.

Literacy Practicum (3 hours)
This course consists of a series of culminating experiences, drawing on learning throughout the program. Candidates will work with individual and small groups of students in an elementary and secondary setting. Candidates will assess students’ literacy skills, create an appropriate intervention plan for those deficiencies, and implement the plan while receiving feedback from a clinical mentor and engaging in reflective practice. Candidates will build a professional portfolio demonstrating their ability to assess and support students’ specific literacy needs.


Reading Specialist Application Overview (2000 × 2000 px)