Reading Specialist K-8 Path to Certification, Graduate Certificate

Department of Teaching and Learning

College of Education

This plan is replacing the Reading Specialist Endorsement beginning fall 2024.

This graduate certificate program provides you with in-depth skills and tools to diagnose and remediate reading difficulties in students K-8 classrooms. In addition, the program also prepares students to lead school and district wide reading programs. The required course work leading to the certificate is approved by the Arizona Department of Education for ADE’s Reading Specialist Endorsement.

    • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many graduate certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.
    • No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 - 4 units) may be used on a graduate certificate program.
    • No more than twenty-five percent of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.
    • A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a Grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.
    • A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.
    • Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 24
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Arizona Endorsement

May prepare student for Arizona Endorsement.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Fieldwork Experience/Internship is required.
Some online/blended coursework Required

Purpose Statement

This new academic plan is within the continuing professional master’s in education elementary level coursework. Reading, along with math, is one of the most important skills being taught in elementary school classroom.  Due to a number of challenges such as second language learners, low socio-economic families with limited resources, and learning disabilities, many young children experience a great deal of difficulty breaking the “code” of reading.  The demand for reading specialists in Arizona is very high.  The course work provided in this certificate program provides skills for diagnosis and remediation as well as reading program supervision for a school wide effort. ECI 551 Clinical Practice in Reading is a hands-on practical component that requires working with students in classrooms through the diagnosis and remediation process. Courses are taken in a sequential order because the theoretical as well as foundational background must be mastered before these teacher graduate students can effectively identify, diagnose and apply effective remedies for students who are struggling to read.  The capstone, ECI 687 requires a Reading Action Research project in each teacher’s classroom. Practicing elementary and middle school teachers and their students are the populations best served by this program.  

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will: 

  • understand and apply phonemic awareness and specific phonic elements and methods of teaching and assessing phonic knowledge in the instruction of reading
  • understand and be able to use theories of language acquisition and reading instruction including bilingual and bicultural considerations in the reading classroom
  • understand and be able to apply principles, methods, specialized materials and diagnostic tests for use in the remediation of basic reading skill deficiencies with struggling readers utilizing clinical experience in test administration
  • use diagnostic testing, case studies, and clinical report writing with a clinical practicum experience and then in their own classrooms tutoring children with serious disabilities in reading 
  • be able to identify types, genres, and characteristics of literature written for children and their practical uses in the K-8 classroom
  • be familiar with the current trends in modern language arts instruction 
  • be able to critically look at reading curriculum in light of the range of philosophies, personalities, and pedagogical issues in reading and language-arts instruction
  • be able to create, maintain, lead and evaluate reading programs for kindergarten through 8th grade, including staffing, politics and training as well as finances and continually evaluating strengths and weaknesses of the program

Graduate Admission Information
  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

    • A valid Arizona Teaching Certificate in Elementary, Early Childhood, or Special Education
    • Three years of classroom experience
Certificate Requirements
  • Take the following 24 units with a GPA of 3.0.

  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Under both circumstances, federal financial aid can be used for this certificate.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.