Program Mission and Vision

The Language and Literacy program views literacy from a critical sociocultural perspective.  That is, we see language and literacy as context-specific, socially, and culturally constructed and situated processes.  Thus, we prepare PK-12 literacy educators and leaders to evaluate their teaching contexts in order to synthesize and implement high-leverage, culturally responsive teaching and assessment practices for diverse literacy learners that will directly impact student achievement.  We emphasize preparing educators to advocate for students.  In other words, we focus on connecting our work as language and literacy teachers with direct collaborative action that positively impacts students, families, and communities.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Education Specialist (Ed.S.) Degree in Language and Literacy prepares current teachers, reading specialists, Title I teachers, literacy coaches, and other education professionals for specialized expertise and leadership in literacy. The objectives of the Ed. S. in Language and Literacy are:

  1. Candidates will synthesize appropriate knowledge related to literacy and literacy instruction including:

    1. Appropriate cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and sociocultural theories

    2. Knowledge of the sociocultural nature and context of literacy instruction

    3. High-leverage, culturally responsive teachingpractices

  2. Candidates will implement appropriate practices related to literacy and literacy instruction including:

    1. Assessment and evaluation of diverse learners

    2. High-leverage Instructional practices

    3. Leadership within a classroom, school, and/or community

  3. Candidates will impact student success in literacy as demonstrated by:

    1. Effective professional practice

    2. Achievement of students

    3. Positive dispositions that promote equity

  4. Candidates will become advocates for their students by means of:

    1. Developing interventions and programming at the classroom, school, and community levels to meet the needs of diverse learners

    2. Research that furthers colleagues understandings of literacy education

Requirements for Admission

Candidate must:

  • Be admitted into the UMKC School of Graduate Studies

  • Possess a Master’s degree and a 3.0 GPA

  • Possess a teaching certificate

  • Have at least two years of teaching experience (or equivalent)

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Synthesize Theory: Develop critical understanding of major theories and research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and sociocultural foundations of reading and writing development and the components of literacy and language development.

  2. Synthesize Teaching Practices: Demonstrate understanding of the major components of reading and writing processes and describe how these processes are developed in different instructional approaches and classroom contexts.

  3. Synthesize Contextual Factors: Examine the intersections among cultural diversity, culturally responsive instructional practices, and teacher expectations in regards to literacy achievement.

  4. Implement Assessment: Understand the purposes, strengths and limitations of different literacy assessments. This includes selection, administration, and interpretation of assessments to equitably evaluate the literacy needs of diverse learners and communicate evaluation results with a variety of audiences.

  5. Impact Achievement: Collaborate with various stakeholders to plan integrated, comprehensive, and balanced instructional activities with a range of texts to support literacy instruction for diverse learners.

  6. Impact Equity: Display positive dispositions about the strengths of culturally and linguistically diverse students and families by enhancing professional practice in a given context as a literacy leader and advocate.

  7. Advocate Practice: Develop and implement strategies for effective literacy instruction and professional development in schools, districts, and communities.

  8. Advocate Research: Share research findings to influence local, state, or national policy decisions.


A minimum of 60 post-B.A. hours are required including a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the master's degree.

Curriculum Summary

Reading Concentration21-42
Supporting Area(s) 9-12
Humanistic and Behavioral Studies6-12
Total (minimum)60

Curriculum Detail

Reading Concentration and Practicum (21-42 credit hours)
EDRD 5439Language and Literacy Across the Disciplines3
EDRD 5501Teaching Of Reading3
EDRD 5502Early Literacy and Language Development3
EDRD 5510Adolescent Practicum in Literacy Assessment and Intervention 3
EDRD 5520Elementary Practicum in Literacy Assessment and Intervention3
EDRD 5511Advanced Literacy Assessment and Evaluation3
EDRD 5515Seminar In Reading3
EDRD 5530Reading Instruction for K-12 English Language Learners3
EDRD 5541Literacy for Adult Learners 3
EDRD 5601Organizing And Guiding The Reading Program3
EDRD 5650Dyslexia and Related Learning Differences3
EDUC-C&I 5523Advanced Literature For Children3
EDUC-C&I 5640Curriculum and Teaching for the College Classroom3
EDUC-C&I 5690Special Problems1-6
Supporting Education Courses (6-12 credit hours)
EDUC-SP 5515Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers: Understanding and Applying Theories of Behavior3
EDUC-SP 5516Collaborating with Families and Other Professionals3
TCH-ED 5404Education of the Exceptional Child and Youth3
Humanistic and Behavioral Studies (6-9 credit hours)
EDUC-R&P 5510Child Behavior And Development3
EDUC-R&P 5512Adolescent Development And The School3
EDUC-UL 5525Cultural Foundations Of Education3
EDUC-UL 5526Philosophical Foundations Of Education3
EDUC-UL 5527Historical Foundations Of Education3
EDUC-UL 5528Sociological Foundations Of Education3

Requirements for Graduation

Candidates must pass an oral comprehensive exam that represents a summation of their own original research.