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For more information, please contact the interim Program Director:

Sheri Voss
Sheri Voss

Visiting Professor, Graduate Literacy
MSED Literacy Program Director
SBU Reading Center Director

B44 Plassmann Hall
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778
(716) 375-2368
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Program Fact Sheet

Childhood literacy 


Now accepting applications for Fall 2020

This Master's in Literacy degree is designed for certified teachers who wish to acquire a master’s degree to teach birth to Grade 12 as a literacy coach, reading teacher, or literacy specialist.

Earn a full degree in 10.5 months, 36 credit hours, online and hybrid classes with a summer practicum.

Our Literacy Birth to Grade 12 Program leads to a Master of Science in Education (MSED) Literacy Education Birth to Grade 12 degree and a recommendation for dual certification in Literacy Education: Birth to Grade 6 AND Secondary Grades 5-12 resulting in the skills needed to teach as, for example, a reading specialist, a literary coach, or as a K-12 literacy certified classroom teacher.

The heart of the program content includes professional field experience, learning to assess and diagnosis reading abilities followed by the SBURC practicum, and opportunities to provide coaching professional development by and for peers and parents alike.

Overview, Description and Purpose of the Hybrid Online B-12 Literacy Program

This 12 month, 36 credit hour hybrid-online graduate level program in literacy includes methods and theory knowledge, learning how to teach reading and reading assessment courses, 100 hours of practicum experience in a short 7-week Summer experience while K-12 school is not in session, perfect for the working teacher, and culminating in an online, take-home comprehensive assessment with collective e-folio that is built in steps with guidance over the course of the program. 

One value of this online graduate level program in literacy is the ability to learn from anywhere with individualized mentoring from a dedicated group of experienced teacher educators. A hallmark feature of this program is the St Bonaventure University Reading Center (SBURC) Practicum experience. It covers K-12 grade ranges ensuring that teachers get practical experience across grade levels to take with them into their careers. The SBURC is a highly sought after offering for local parents of the SBU area where students are paired in a unique 1:1 partnership with a NYS literacy certified graduate teacher candidate. This program can occur both on campus or through virtual learning.  Candidates are invited to the SBU campus to complete this final step in their program, but arrangements for completing the practicum off campus may be possible. 

Program Highlights

  • Online classes are accessible from anywhere in the country for NYS initially certified teachers; candidates have a one semester grace period from entry into the program to complete NYS initial certification requirements. 
  • Degree completion in 10 to 12 months.
  • MSED B-12 Literacy certified teachers are in high demand by school superintendents, making program graduates highly marketable as literacy-trained general education B-12 teachers, reading/literacy specialists, reading/literacy coaches,  and remedial reading educators. 
  • Students receive the benefit of multiple mentoring relationships. They are connected with an advisor, faculty, mentor-teacher, mentor-coach, teaching professionals and gurus in the world of education, and peers in their program experiences. 
  • Hands-on experience includes the SBURC summer practicum in a short 7 weeks where teachers work 1:1 with students from K-12 grades in a specialized reading program created by the teacher using his/her reading assessment knowledge. 
  • Video observations of practicums provide greater convenience for students currently working in educational settings while keeping the level of mentoring as high as that of in-person observations.

Admission Requirements

Admission to this degree program is based on:
  • Initial Teaching certificate in elementary or secondary education
    • Note: Candidates can be admitted prior to initial certification (passed edTPA and allNYS required certification tests) with a grace period of one semester from the start of the program to complete certification.
  • Official transcripts of all prior college work (3.00/4.00 GPA)
  • Two references addressing your ability to teach and do graduate level work
  • Interview and Quick Writing sample demonstrating your writing abilities.
  • GRE or MAT score
 NOTE: State law requires SBU to collect immunization records from students taking six or more credit hours in any semester.

Exit Criteria

In order to be awarded the degree in Childhood Literacy, the MSED Literacy student must meet the following criteria:
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • Clinical practicum in literacy (100 hours)
  • Literacy/coaching internship (logged hours of field experiences, e-folio)
  • SBU School of Education MSED Literacy Comprehensive Exam (online, take home, pass/fail)
 SBU B-12 Literacy Completion Timeline 

Sabrina-Irvin works with a child to improve reading skills

Field Experiences

Program-long field experiences are provided to candidates through completion of the course READ 599. Literacy Coaching Internship. This involves a 60- to 75-hour in-school field placement across all semesters. Candidates are matched with certified literacy teachers, reading specialists, and/or educational coaches who facilitate their work with school personnel, students, and resources.

Students are placed in settings that provide them the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds who reflect a broad range of learning needs. A candidate's time in classrooms is excitingly spent taking on varying roles of observer, assistant, teacher, and coach.

Across their field experiences, candidates complete projects that meet the literacy and coaching standards set by the International Literacy Association. These projects will be assigned and graded within the context of courses taken during the program. Details about project requirements are provided by program faculty.

The St. Bonaventure Reading Center practicum is another field embedded in a three-credit course, READ 580. Clinical Practicum in Childhood Literacy. Consistent with the program’s philosophy, purposes, and objectives, the clinical practicum allows candidates to practice knowledge learned in the initial phases of the literacy program. 

Candidates will assess thoroughly the literacy proficiencies, skills, and strategies of elementary school-age children, thus giving them knowledge from which to write diagnostic assessment reports, create individualized plans for instruction, and provide reading and literacy instruction to those students for a period of at least 50 clock-hours over the course of a semester.

The practicum is supervised by St. Bonaventure faculty from the program and is accompanied by individual support from the faculty who focus on the various issues experienced by their elementary-aged student clients.  Successful completion is a requirement for graduation from the program.

Scholarships and Grants

St. Bonaventure's Dean's Scholarship can reduce tuition costs by 20%, making St. Bonaventure an exceptional value among Western New York colleges and universities.

Students pursuing Literacy Teacher Birth-Grade 6 certification may be eligible for the federal TEACH Grant.

For more information, visit our Scholarships & Grants page in Graduate Admissions & Aid.

Degree and New York State Certification

The degree in Childhood Literacy requires candidates to have met all requirements for initial teacher certification in a matching area (early childhood, childhood) prior to admission to the degree program.

The MSED in Literacy meets the criteria for additional certification area in New York. The only candidates recommended for literacy certification in New York by St. Bonaventure's School of Education are those who have completed the master's degree in its entirety. All others apply for certification through BOCES (N.Y.).

Upon graduation, teachers are eligible to take their New York state teacher professional certification exam.

A Note about the Teacher Certification Entrance Requirement for the MSED Literacy degree

New York state regulations require that candidates have NYS Initial Elementary Teacher Certification prior to or within one semester of beginning a Master's in Education degree program. The SBU School of Education upholds this regulation. This means that applicants must have passed all New York state required Initial Teacher Certification tests including the edTPA before being allowed to permanently register for the MSED Literacy program, which begins during Summer I session in early May.

Students can be admitted provisionally for the first semester, summer, with all other admission criteria satisfied and then show proof of NYS teacher certification prior to the start of the subsequent fall semester in order to continue in the program. 

News, Publications & Research

More News

State Elks Association Major Projects grant aids Special Olympics program at St. Bonaventure University

Nov 12, 2019 |

Elks grant presentationA New York State Elks Association Major Projects grant will help a student club at St. Bonaventure University promote a healthy lifestyles program at its annual spring Unified Basketball Competition serving Special Olympics athletes.

Jamie Peace, manager of mail services at St. Bonaventure and CEO of the Elks’ Major Projects Grant Program, presented a $3,000 grant to Dr. Paula Scraba, associate professor of physical education at St. Bonaventure and adviser of the student-run Physical Activity Club, and Dr. Claire Watson, founding director of the public health program in St. Bonaventure’s School of Health Professions, and clinical director for Special Olympics New York and International.

The Physical Activity Club, for majors in health science, sport studies, physical education and related fields, is a recognized Special Olympics college club.

“Part of our mission is to enhance student opportunities for professional experiences and community involvement, on and off campus, that promote healthy lifestyles for people with and without disabilities, through Special Olympics’ Unified Sports program,” said Scraba.

A new initiative for the club is the Special Olympics Unified Healthy Athletes Program, which is aimed at providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes.

The poverty rates in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties are among the state’s highest, and residents in those counties share correspondingly high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, said Scraba. To help combat those trends the Physical Activity Club will conduct a Health Promotion Awareness Program at its annual Unified Basketball Competition next spring. The annual basketball event, involving students from six local school districts, partners people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same teams.

St. Bonaventure students will conduct the Health Promotion Awareness Program, which will include screenings to determine individuals’ body mass index and other key health factors, interactive activities aimed at raising awareness of the need to improve and maintain one’s fitness and wellness, interviews with athletes to assess their health-related habits, and even a sample healthy meal.

The program is designed to be fun, interactive, positive and engaging, and to demonstrate to Special Olympics athletes how small changes in behavior can help improve and maintain good health and sports performance, said Watson.

“The goal is to improve the quality of life and long-term health of Special Olympics athletes and people with intellectual disabilities through healthy behaviors, screenings and medical referrals,” she said.

The New York State Elks Association Major Projects grants, awarded across the state each year, are for programs that assist people with disabilities. “We try to help programs, like St. Bonaventure’s Unified Basketball competition, that impact a large group of people,” said Peace. “We’re glad that we can help make a difference.”

This is the second time in three years that the Bonaventure program has received an Elks Major Projects grant.

“We are so grateful to the Elks. With their support we are able to provide healthy lifestyles programs and services to local schools and communities,” said Scraba.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2019, St. Bonaventure was named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.