2023-24 Graduate Catalog 
    Apr 19, 2024  
2023-24 Graduate Catalog

Literacy Education [LTE] M.S.Ed.

Literacy Department
Katarina Silvestri, chair 
Cornish Hall, Room 1314


Literacy applies to every single subject area, and our department offers a robust graduate program that provides certification to teach literacy in all grades (B-12). Enhance your passion for helping people learn to read, whether in school settings, employment situations or through community agencies. Build on the solid foundation of your bachelor's degree in teacher education and work toward earning your professional New York state teaching certifications in Literacy Birth to 12.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of major theoretical, conceptual, historical, and evidence-based foundation of literacy and language, the ways in which they interrelate, and the role of the reading/ literacy specialist in schools.
  2. Use foundational knowledge to design literacy curricula to meet needs of learners, especially those who experience difficulty with literacy; design, implement, and evaluate small-group and individual evidence-based literacy instruction for learners; collaborate with teachers to implement effective literacy practices.
  3. Understand, select, and use valid, reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools to screen, diagnose, and measure student literacy achievement; inform instruction and evaluate interventions; assist teachers in their understanding and use of assessment results; advocate for appropriate literacy practices to relevant stakeholders.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of research, relevant theories, pedagogies, and essential concepts of diversity and equity; demonstrate an understanding of themselves and others as cultural beings; create classrooms and schools that are inclusive and affirming, advocate for equity at school, district, and community levels.
  5. Meet the development needs of all learners and collaborate with school personnel to use a variety of print and digital materials to engage and motivate all learners; integrate digital materials in appropriate, safe, and effective ways; foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to be reflective literacy professionals, who apply their knowledge of adult learning to work collaboratively with colleagues; demonstrate their leadership and facilitation skills; advocate on behalf of teachers, students, families, and communities.

Program Highlights

The SUNY Cortland Master's degree in literacy examines critical topics in language and literacy development, children's literature and the effects of literacy on society. You'll gain key skills in assessment and instruction of learners from birth to grade 12 and those experiencing literacy difficulties. You'll also explore important issues in literacy history and research and the relationship of the literacy specialist to the literacy program. In addition, you'll apply theory to practice in field experiences and a literacy practicum.

Culminating Experience

In addition to fulfilling the specific requirements for state certification in Literacy, including workshops, you will be required to complete a capstone assignment that will be integrated into your literacy practicum. This practicum takes place in summer session II and requires full commitment.

Career Potential

SUNY Cortland-trained literacy interventionists are sought by school districts throughout New York state. You can take your knowledge and skills to the classroom or become a reading/literacy coach or specialist in a school or district setting.

You'll change the lives of students who are striving to learn to read, helping them discover and surmount the obstacles to literacy and improving their ability to succeed — as students, professionals and members of society.

Graduate Admission

Evaluation Policy

At the State University of New York College at Cortland we seek a diverse and academically strong student body. Our admission policy and practice will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or marital status.

Required Materials

Applicants should submit the required application materials listed below. Contact the Graduate Admissions Office with any questions at graduate.admissions@cortland.edu or at 607-753-4800.

  1. Completed online Graduate School Application - Apply Now
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended to be forwarded directly to SUNY Cortland Graduate Admissions Office
    Note: Candidates for admission must present evidence of bachelor's degree conferral prior to the start of their academic program.
  3. Documentation of teaching certification from an accredited program (candidates may apply while certification is pending)
  4. Contact information of two recommenders (recommenders will be notified by email once the information is provided by the applicant).
  5. A statement demonstrating commitment to and interest in literacy education as well as an ability to write clearly and well (submitted online with application).  The following three writing prompts should be clearly addressed:
  • What does it mean to be literate in the 21st century?
  • Calkins (1994) noted that to be a teacher of reading and writing, once must be a reader and writer oneself. Describe your views about this statement and indicate something about yourself as a reader and writer.
  • In what way will the literacy specialist degree support your long-term professional goal? 

     NOTE: The statement will be evaluated based on clarity of ideas, depth of content, organization and writing conventions.

  6. New York State mandates that all SUNY teacher preparation programs adopt college entrance assessments for admissions consideration (candidates may apply while scores are pending).


Admissions Criteria

Preference will be given to candidates with an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and above on a 4.0 scale.

Applicants are required to submit information on the following:

Candidates need to be a certified teacher or show proof that they will receive their certification before completing the program. Candidates may submit a screenshot of pending certification or a screenshot of initial certification. 

The Literacy Department will evaluate all applications and make final admission decisions on all candidates. The final notification regarding admission is transmitted to the applicant from the Graduate Admissions Office. You should matriculate, that is be accepted and enrolled in the program, before beginning course work.


Fall semester applications: July 1
Spring semester applications: Dec. 1
Summer semester applications: April 1

Applications submitted after the deadline may be considered on a space availability basis.
Please contact the Graduate Admission Office at 607-753-4800 to check availability. 

Professional Licensure Disclosure Information 

M.S.Ed. in Literacy Education: Birth to Grade 12

 Study leading to the certificate in the Teaching of Literacy Birth to 12.

B. Culminating Activity: 9 credit hours

C. Required Workshops

  • Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting workshop (CARR)
  • Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)
  • Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE)

Additional Requirements

Candidates for the degree must meet any additional undergraduate and graduate requirements for the award of the degree established by the department. Such additional requirements must be ascertained by the student in consultation with the department's graduate coordinator.

Specific information regarding requirements (state examinations, identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment, alcohol and drug abuse education, fingerprinting, violence prevention, foreign language requirements and an undergraduate or graduate course on teaching students with disabilities) for New York state teaching certification can be found in the Teacher Certification Information section of this catalog.

Total Credit Hours Required: 33