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Academic Programs

Teaching Literacy: Classroom or Clinical Focus


  • Program Overview

    UPDATE: We’re currently revising our literacy offerings so they align with the changes to New York State’s reading and literacy certification process.

    If you’d like to start a Bank Street master’s degree for reading and literacy certification, you can apply now and begin this program in Summer 2024.

    If you’re looking to start in Fall 2024 or later, we encourage you to complete this form and we will let you know about our new literacy master’s degree program when it becomes available in Spring 2025 (pending state approval).

    There may be additional programs that will match your interests, too. Please reach out to Graduate Admissions at and we’d be happy to help you think through the options.


    If you already have initial certification, the Teaching Literacy Program will prepare you to develop expertise as a classroom teacher or as a literacy specialist.

    We have two pathways for this degree. The first is the Teaching Literacy with a Focus on Classroom Teaching degree, which prepares you to obtain a New York State certification in Literacy, Birth through Grade 6. You are prepared to teach as a classroom teacher with strong preparation in language arts and as a literacy specialist. Select this degree if you have initial certification in early childhood education or elementary education.

    The second pathway is the Teaching Literacy with a Focus on Clinical Teaching degree. In this pathway, you are prepared to obtain the same certification, need to have initial certification as stated above, and the coursework is the same, but the fieldwork is entirely clinical practice. Select this pathway if you have had at least two years of classroom experience and intend to pursue a position as a reading specialist as the next step in your career.

    Both pathways are designed to prepare you to understand that literacy is a set of dynamic, interrelated, and sociocultural processes that include speaking, listening, reading, writing, and viewing. Using the core understanding that children’s literacy learning is shaped by the values, beliefs, and experiences acquired at home, school, and in their communities, you will learn to design curriculum and instruction that is responsive to the children you teach.

    This program culminates in a Master of Science in Education and requires 37-40 credits.

    Graduate student reading with two children

  • Admissions Requirements

    In addition to the main admissions criteria, there are additional requirements needed to apply for this program:

    • Applicants must already hold a valid New York State certification in General Education at the Early Childhood or Childhood level.
  • Coursework

  • Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

    Supervised fieldwork/advisement lies at the heart of a Bank Street education. Through sustained experiences in the field, supervision from core faculty, and close collaboration with peers, our graduate students develop the ability to connect theory to practice and to reflect deeply on their own growth as educators.

    • For the Teaching Literacy with a Focus on Classroom Teaching pathway, you can work as a full-time assistant or head teacher in a classroom (grades 1-6) with an additional summer clinical placement [40 credit option] OR as a student teacher in three consecutive placements in classroom and clinical settings three days per week [37 credit option].
    • For the Teaching Literacy with a Focus on Clinical Teaching pathway, you can work as a part-time or full-time reading specialist in a school OR as a student teacher in two clinical placements three days per week.
    • You will learn from an experienced educator—your advisor—who individualizes your fieldwork throughout the school year.
    • You will participate in a weekly conference group with your advisor and 5-7 other students in which you will collaboratively deepen your learning about teaching and learning.
  • Career Opportunities

    Your degree will provide you with a range of career opportunities:

    • You can teach in elementary school classrooms in grades 1-6 in public, charter, or independent schools.
    • You can teach as a reading specialist in public, charter, or independent schools.
    • Graduates who choose to teach outside of New York State can usually arrange for reciprocity for teaching certification in their new location.

    Graduate student and child reading a book

  • Faculty

I was drawn to Bank Street during my graduate school search process for numerous reasons. First, I loved the Bank Street philosophy of education. Additionally, I was drawn to the supportive community within Bank Street, [including the] small class sizes and the personal advising program. [The program] allows for teacher growth and support and that, I thought, would give me the confidence I needed to one day run my own classroom.
Katie Hayden, GSE '18
Graduate student and child reading a book

Meet Our Alumni

  • Xiania Foster, an alumnus of Reading & Literacy, is a literacy staff developer for the organization, Teaching Matters. This article features her work with teachers to help them improve reading instruction. Read more >>
  • Clio Stearn, an alumnus of Reading & Literacy, has published a critical analysis of current approaches to socio-emotional learning in American schools. Read more >>

Alumni Spotlight: Alvin Irby

Bank Street alum Alvin Irby, ’09, founder of Barbershop Books, has reached millions of viewers through his TED Talk in which he shares more about his mission to inspire children, especially Black boys, to become lifelong readers.