Best Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy Programs

Land better jobs in education with a master's in reading and literacy. Explore the best online master's in reading and literacy programs of 2022.

portrait of Dr. Samantha Fecich
by Dr. Samantha Fecich

Published on March 8, 2022 · Updated on June 9, 2022

Edited by Colin Weickmann
Share this Article

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Pursuing a master's in reading and literacy provides graduates with the skills needed to work with children and adults to build and sharpen their skills. Whether working with native English speakers or people learning English as a secondary language, graduates can make a real difference in their students' lives.

The cost of master's in reading and literacy programs varies. Many cost-conscious learners decide to earn the degree from a public school in the state where they live. Most degree-seekers spend about two years earning their master's. Although, students enrolled in an accelerated program can graduate in 18 months.

Graduates interested in teaching or curriculum development roles can benefit from positive job outlooks for 2020-2030. Salaries shift based on many factors, but many roles pay about $60,000 per year.

When looking at top online schools and deciding whether to go to graduate school, students often have many questions. Keep reading to learn about common classes, available concentrations, and popular career paths. This page also covers what it takes to get accepted into an online master's in reading and literacy program.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Program?

Students who consider earning an online master's in reading and literacy typically have a passion for teaching. They also often want to help learners become their best. They usually enjoy working with various personalities and ability levels. In addition, they possess solid problem-solving skills and develop creative solutions.

Most master's in reading and literacy programs require 30-40 credits and about two years to complete. Some accelerated programs may allow learners to graduate in as few as 18 months.

In addition to general coursework, many of these programs provide concentrations. With concentrations, learners focus their knowledge in niche reading and literacy areas. Concentrations vary by program, but common options include:

When preparing for graduate school, students can often choose from either an MS or M.Ed. in reading and literacy. The MS supports learners interested in instructional coaching or curriculum development. The M.Ed. prepares students who plan to work in the classroom after graduating.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Best Online Master's in Education Programs Best Online Master's in Higher Education Programs Best Online Master's in English Programs

Popular Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Program?

Developing Fluent Readers

Designed for P-12 classroom teachers, this course looks at modes to encourage fluency and comprehension. Students examine social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development at various ages.

Comprehension Strategies

This course focuses on strategies frequently used in classrooms to help students strengthen reading comprehension skills. For example, learners explore emerging technologies based on developmental stages.

Foundational Reading Instruction Theories

Students in this class learn how to analyze current reading instruction and literacy programs in P-12 schools. Coursework covers how to update curricula based on the latest research and best practices.

Assessment-Based Reading Instruction

This course develops students' qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills. Students use these skills to assess a reading and literacy curriculum's effectiveness. They also learn how to select the best instructional materials.

Reading and Literacy Practicum

Students must complete a practicum as part of capstone requirements. Learners develop a portfolio of their reading and literacy development work. They take this practicum in their final semester.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Financial Aid Guide for Graduate Students Scholarships for Education Majors The Student's Guide to Financial Aid and the FAFSA

Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Program

In general, admission requirements for online master's in reading and literacy programs mirror campus-based degrees. While all programs require students to hold a bachelor's degree, some may prioritize those with undergraduate diplomas in education or related fields.

Competitive online master's in reading and literacy programs may also require students to sit for an interview as part of graduate admission requirements.

Application

College application systems vary by institution. But most provide both online and mail-in applications. Typically, applications ask for basic demographic information, including the applicant's full name and mailing address. Students may also need to provide their date of birth and citizenship status.

Test Scores

Not all online master's in reading and literacy programs require test scores. Those that do typically ask for GRE scores. Some programs may allow students to bypass this step if they hold a high enough GPA or substantial professional experience in a relevant field.

Letters of Recommendation

When asking for letters of recommendation, students should contact former or current professors, supervisors, volunteer managers, or faith leaders. Learners should select people who can speak to their qualities and preparedness for advanced learning. Students who previously worked in a school should include at least one letter from a school supervisor or colleague.

Resume and Work Experience

A college application resume is an important component of the master's degree application. Many programs look for candidates with at least a year or two of professional experience. Even if a learner does not have previous experience in education, they should still include a resume outlining their work history.

Essays

Essays allow learners to share information about themselves, their experiences, and their ability to communicate effectively. When writing a grad school essay, applicants should ensure they discuss why they want to earn a master's in reading and literacy. They should also highlight how they plan to use the degree and why they want to attend a particular school.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts prove applicants have taken all required prerequisites and hold stated GPAs. If a learner wants to transfer from another program, their transcripts also help figure out which credits will count toward their new degree.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Degree?

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects growth rates of 7-10% for most education roles between 2020-2030. Graduates can choose from traditional K-12 classroom roles or adult ESL positions. They can also work in curriculum development to help improve reading and literacy skills for larger audiences.

Salaries vary based on experience level, employer, location, and job title. But most teaching roles offer median annual salaries of about $60,000. While most graduates work in K-12 education, others may work in adult education or curriculum development. They may also pursue higher education roles to train the next generation of reading and literacy specialists.

Career Paths

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators use their knowledge of curricular requirements and teaching standards to develop curricula for various subjects and grade levels. They review current curricula and students' test data from previous years. They also incorporate new materials and textbooks and train teaching staff.

Median Annual Salary: $66,970

High School Teacher

High school teachers educate students in grades 9-12 and help prepare them for college or the workforce. In addition to teaching, high school teachers commonly write recommendation letters for jobs or higher education. They also prepare learners for standardized tests.

Median Annual Salary: $62,870

Middle School Teacher

Middle school educators typically teach students in grades 6-8. These educators move into more advanced topics that prepare students for high school coursework. They also help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and work to address those.

Median Annual Salary: $60,810

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers provide the building blocks for further education. They teach students reading and literacy basics. In addition to creating lesson plans, they evaluate students' abilities and recommend areas of improvement. They also address specific learning challenges through intervention.

Median Annual Salary: $60,660

ESL Teachers

ESL teachers can work with children or adults. They help people whose native language is not English develop proficiency and fluency. These teachers develop lesson plans and provide one-on-one instruction as needed. They also take students on field trips to learn in real-world settings.

Median Annual Salary: $55,350

Reading and Literacy Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Education Careers Higher Education Careers English Careers

Continuing Education

Many positions available to reading and literacy professionals only require a master's degree. However, some people pursue a doctorate in reading and literacy to reach the highest education level. Students who earn a doctorate may accept professorships in colleges and universities. They may also conduct research in the field.

How Do I Choose a Master's in Reading and Literacy Program?

Cost

Understanding the true program cost for a master's in reading and literacy, and the differences between online and campus-based program costs, can affect a student's decision. College Board reported that public institutions charged an average of $9,000 for master's tuition during the 2021-2022 academic year. Private schools charged an average of $29,670.

Program Format

Online students can choose between synchronous and asynchronous program formats. Busy learners often decide the latter path works best for them. Many master's in reading and literacy programs also provide part-time or full-time learning paths to work with varied scheduling needs.

Location

When deciding between online or on-campus learning, students often consider location. Learners can select a fully online program further away since they often do not need to visit the school. If a program requires campus visits or intensives, students should select a school within driving distance.

Accreditation

Students should look for an online college with proper accreditation at the institutional level. They should also search for master's in reading and literacy programs approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness. Doing this research can help avoid issues when earning a teaching license.

Student Support

Student services play an important role in the overall learning experience. In addition to providing mentor opportunities, the best programs also help find proper internships or practicum sites. Lastly, online students should make sure any program offers adequate distance learner resources.

Best Accredited Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Program

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1 Online College in Arkansas

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

School Information
Location Little Rock, Arkansas
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 43%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online  | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $383

Out of State | $383

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation; International Literacy Association

UA Little Rock offers an accelerated online master's in reading and literacy for new and experienced teachers. The 30-credit program includes classes like teaching children with dyslexia and diagnosis of reading difficulties. Students choose tracks in reading generalist or leading to reading specialist licensure. 

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university. The program requires a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA or a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.

#2 Online College in Texas

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

School Information
Location Edinburg, Texas
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $677

Out of State | $1,085

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

UTRGV's master's in reading and literacy program runs fully online. Learners choose from concentrations in biliteracy, digital literacy, reading specialist, or English/adolescent literacy. Designed for preK-12 teachers, the 30-credit program focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of reading.

Enrollees complete classes like conducting literacy research, transnational and immigrant literacies, and sociocultural foundations of literacy. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must submit a personal statement.

#3 Online College in Iowa

Morningside College

School Information
Location Sioux City, Iowa
Admission Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 62%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $310

Out of State | $310

Credits to Graduate

32

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Morningside offers an online master's in reading and literacy program that helps teachers provide effective literacy instruction. The 32-credit program includes classes like instructional technology, diagnostic teaching of reading, and children's literature. 

Applicants need a valid teaching license or certificate. Prospective enrollees also need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA. Morningside requires college transcripts.

#4 Online College in Missouri

Evangel University

School Information
Location Springfield, Missouri
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 56%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $300

Out of State | $300

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Evangel offers a two-year, cohort-model online master's in reading and literacy degree. The program prepares students to work as certified reading specialists. The curriculum explores strategies, assessment, and current trends in reading instruction. 

Applicants need a current Missouri teaching license. They also need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last two years of undergraduate work. Applicants must submit GRE, Praxis, or Missouri Content Assessment scores.

#5 Online College in Colorado

University of Northern Colorado

School Information
Location Greeley, Colorado
Admission Rate 91%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $572

Out of State | $572

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

UNC offers a 20-month hybrid master's in reading and literacy program. Designed for working K-12 teachers, the program trains learners to work as literacy specialists or reading intervention teachers. Enrollees learn how to teach the writing process in schools and read research. Students can add a K-12 literacy teacher endorsement.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least one year of full-time experience. This experience can include teaching grades K-12, working in a school or public library, or working as an occupational or speech therapist.

#6 Online College in Ohio

Baldwin Wallace University

School Information
Location Berea, Ohio
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $550

Out of State | $550

Credits to Graduate

31

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

BW's fully online master's in reading and literacy program focuses on research in literacy education, evaluation methods, and children's literature. Designed for K-12 teachers, the program meets the requirements for an Ohio teaching certificate endorsement in PreK-12 reading.

Learners must complete 50 hours of fieldwork, including a practicum working with children with reading difficulties. Applicants must submit official college transcripts and two recommendations. Prospective enrollees need a valid Ohio teaching certificate or license.

#7 Online College in Florida

Nova Southeastern University

School Information
Location Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $1,095

Out of State | $1,095

Credits to Graduate

36

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

NSU offers an online master's in reading and literacy program. Learners can pursue a degree-only track or add a Florida-recognized teaching certification in reading education. The curriculum includes classes like assessment in reading and reading supervision and content development.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, a minimum 2.5 GPA, and a teaching certificate. NSU requires GRE or General Knowledge Test scores for students applying with a temporary teaching credential.

#8 Online College in Texas

Sul Ross State University

School Information
Location Alpine, Texas
Admission Rate 100%
Graduation Rate 25%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $240

Out of State | $648

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Sul Ross offers a master's in reading and literacy program that runs fully online. Coursework covers reading instruction, language acquisition, and reading assessment. The 30-credit, two-year program requires a portfolio defense and case study.

Full admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum overall 3.0 GPA. Applicants also need a master's degree from an accredited university or a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 credits of a bachelor's degree. Sul Ross requires GRE or GMAT scores.

#9 Online College in Florida

Saint Leo University

School Information
Location Saint Leo, Florida
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 49%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $510

Out of State | $510

Credits to Graduate

36

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Saint Leo's fully online master's in reading and literacy program concentrates on curriculum development theory, educational research in policy-making, and integration of reading and writing. The 36-credit program requires classes like emergent literacy and foundations in reading.

Prospective students must submit a current resume, two professional recommendations, a written statement, and transcripts. Applicants need a valid teaching certificate. Prospective enrollees with a minimum 3.0 GPA do not need to submit GRE scores. Saint Leo accepts applications year-round.

#10 Online College in New York

Canisius College

School Information
Location Buffalo, New York
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 73%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $840

Out of State | $840

Credits to Graduate

33

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Canisius offers an online master's in reading and literacy program that prepares students to meet New York literary specialist certification requirements. Courses include adolescent literacy, emergent literacy, and teaching reading in diverse classrooms. Students complete two field experiences, including one advanced practicum. 

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a teaching certification. Prospective students must submit two recommendation letters.

Frequently Asked Questions On Master's in Reading and Literacy Programs

Is a master's in reading and literacy worth it? true

Before pursuing a master's in reading and literacy, students must first decide whether an online degree is worth it and meets their educational needs. Reading and literacy graduates enjoy access to various growing and well-paid positions compared to national averages for all occupations.Most programs require two years of study. So, undergrad degree-holders need to consider if they want to stay in school longer. Students who want to earn more or move into managerial roles often decide to go for it.

What can I do with a master's in reading and literacy? true

Many students decide to pursue an online master's in reading and literacy since it offers a variety of career options. Some students decide to work in traditional teaching roles at the elementary, middle, or high school levels. Others work with adult ESL students domestically and abroad.Students who enjoy data and analysis may decide to move into curriculum development. These roles allow professionals to study educational trends within reading and literacy. They then make recommendations for improving curricula and, in turn, improving student outcomes.

Are reading and literacy graduates in demand? true

Yes.Graduates of master's in reading and literacy programs are projected to be in demand in the coming years for two reasons. Firstly, younger grade students often need help sharpening their reading and literacy skills. Secondly, students whose first language is not English may need more support building writing and speaking skills.Whether a graduate plans to work with kindergarten or high school students, the BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 7-8% between 2020-2030. Additionally, the BLS projects jobs for instructional coordinators to grow by 10% during the same time.

How much money can I make with a master's in reading and literacy?

Most education roles pay about $60,000 per year as of May 2020. For instance, kindergarten and elementary teachers earned median salaries of $60,660. Middle school teachers made median wages of $60,810 per year, and high school teachers earned $62,870.

With all positions for master's in reading and literacy graduates, many factors can influence earnings. Those with more years of experience tend to earn more, as do those who take on extra responsibilities. Teaching at a public or private school and geographic location also influence salaries.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in reading and literacy?

After working in the classroom for several years, some reading and literacy professionals decide to move into instructional coordinator roles. These professionals earned median wages of $66,970 annually in May 2020.

Other graduates may pursue a leadership position as an elementary, middle, or high school principal. These professionals typically need at least five years of related experience. They earned median wages of $98,490 annually in May 2020. Principals in the top 10% of earners made more than $152,500.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.