Reading specialists are teachers who are trained in advanced techniques for teaching reading skills to young children who have difficulty with building their skills. They help these kids to improve their literacy and reading comprehension skills, as well as to hopefully develop a love of reading that will carry them through not only their early school years, but into high school, college and throughout their adult life.
It could be argued that reading is the single most essential skill for success in our society, which makes reading specialists heroes of the teaching profession. Explore the roles, responsibilities, job duties and requirements for a reading specialist teacher, and learn how you can get certified in your state.
The Job of a Reading Specialist Teacher
The primary job of a reading specialist teacher is to work with students who suffer from learning disabilities or are otherwise having difficulty with grade-appropriate reading skills. Most reading specialists work with early education and elementary school children through sixth grade, they can be found working with high school students and even adults, based on needs.
In some areas, reading specialists may be employed to mentor and coach other teachers on the best practices in teaching reading skills, and on how to improve and assess current curricula to meet student needs. They are trained in identifying deficiencies and learning disabilities, and in the establishment of intervention plans when needed to provide extra instruction.
Reading specialists may work during school hours or after school. They might also have to fulfill other duties of teachers such as monitoring lunches and hallways, proctoring study halls, overseeing student activities and chaperoning school events.
Skills and Knowledge Required
Reading specialists require extensive skills and knowledge. Not only do they have to excel at literacy and the best practices and methods for teaching reading, they must be able to work collaboratively with other teachers and school administration to establish, assess and improve current needs for reading curricula. They must be skilled in identifying the signs of learning difficulties or disabilities and in establishing intervention plans to address these problems.
These teachers must have outstanding organizational skills and the ability to create and implement lesson plans in accordance with the goals of the school district. They must have flexible schedules as their job might take them well outside of normal school hours. They must also show dedication to teaching reading and a love of what they do.
Getting Certified as a Reading Specialist
The first step to entering the field of a reading specialist is to obtain the right training and certification. Your state will have their own guidelines which provide a path to entering this field. In general, they require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education, certification exam requirements, student teaching and obtaining federal and state criminal background and child abuse clearances. Most who enter this field will pursue a master’s degree in teaching or education to improve their abilities and earning capacity even further.
Teachers in this field earn an average annual salary of around $56,800 per year, but this can vary based on experience and qualifications. The job is expected to grow 6% by the year 2024. If you’d like to enter this career path, look over our website today to find the qualifications for your state.