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For more information, please contact the interim Program Director:

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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Childhood literacy 


This degree is designed for early childhood and elementary teachers who wish to acquire a master’s degree as a reading teacher, literacy specialist, and knowledge in literacy coaching.

The degree provides teachers with extended research-based knowledge in the areas of the six language arts; children’s literacy development and processes; teaching whole-class, small-group, and individual learners; the process of diagnostic assessment; remediation of literacy difficulties; working with linguistically and culturally diverse learners; digital, content and disciplinary literacies; literacy and instructional coaching; and unique, practical hands-on experiences both in-service at area school districts and in a reading practicum.

The 30 credit-hour graduate degree can be completed in one year for full-time students or in two years for part-time students. Candidates begin the program during summer sessions followed by a fall and spring term. Courses are a combination of online, hybrid, and  face-to-face classes on St. Bonaventure's main campus in Olean.

Admission Requirements

Admission to this degree program is based on:
  1. Teaching certificate in a matching area (middle, adolescence)
  2. Official transcripts of all prior college work (3.00/4.00 GPA)
  3. Two references addressing your ability to teach and do graduate level work
  4. Interview
  5. Writing sample
  6. Additional information, if requested by the program director
  7. 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:
  1. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  2. Successful completion of the following:
    1. Clinical practicum in literacy
    2. Literacy/coaching internship
    3. A portfolio showing professional growth and accomplishments
    4. The St. Bonaventure MSED Literacy Comprehensive Exam (80% or better)

Field Experiences

Childhood Literacy program at SBUProgram-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. 

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