It is difficult to measure the importance of literacy, yet every teacher who has ever helped a student learn to read knows the joy of being part of that learning process. Literacy truly opens up the world of ideas, history, knowledge and understanding that would otherwise be inaccessible.
What Is Literacy?Literacy is more than the ability to read and write, although reading and writing are essential skills for success in life. Literacy also encompasses listening, comprehending, understanding context and thinking critically. Children who lack these skills or have weak literacy skills are more likely to fall behind their classmates, which could jeopardize their success in school. Young adults with weak literacy skills usually have trouble finding jobs, and, once they become parents, they are unable to assist their own children with learning.
Improving literacy skills helps to increase students’ self-esteem and confidence, which in turn encourages them to learn more. Teachers who work with students struggling to read, write and comprehend are helping improve their students’ lives, not just in school but for life beyond school.
A master’s degree in literacy equips teachers with key tools to contribute to their students’ overall development through the effective teaching of reading and comprehension.
Literacy Teaches More Than Reading and Language Skills
The New York Times reported a study by researchers who followed children for five years from grades one through five or grades three through seven. The study found that in addition to improving reading and writing, literacy skills helped students with paying attention, setting goals, controlling impulses and regulating their level of activity.
According to Dr. Perri Klass, pediatrician and teacher of journalism at NYU who wrote the article referenced above, “When we speak of literacy and literacy promotion, we need to acknowledge how much literacy encompasses. Yes, it’s a key to success in school, with all that implies about life trajectory, earning power and socioeconomic status. It’s also a key to citizenship and enfranchisement in society, to your ability to understand and take part in all the discourse that shapes your community and your country and your world. It’s the product of a whole range of brain circuits from vocabulary and vision and visual processing to memory and meaning.”
Benefits of Earning an M.Ed. in Literacy
Eastern Washington University’s M.Ed. in Literacy program provides teachers with the skills they need to boost student literacy. In addition to supporting the diverse learning needs of a P-12 classroom, this advanced degree can enhance your effectiveness across the curriculum and help to develop and improve your assessment skills.
Besides the increased salary teachers with a master’s degree in education can command, this advanced degree also opens up a number of career options. In addition to qualifying for roles that enable you to teach reading, writing in P-12 classrooms, you can become a Reading Specialist, Title 1 Specialist or a District Reading Curriculum Specialist. You can also teach undergraduate courses in literacy at community colleges or serve as an adjunct at a university.
Learn more about the EWU online M.Ed. in Literacy program.