Literacy Program Mission & Learning Outcomes


The mission of the Master of Science in Literacy Education is to prepare highly capable and ethically responsible literacy professionals who thoroughly understand and can implement the theory and practice of literacy acquisition and instruction. Consistent with the missions of St. John Fisher College and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, as well as the standards set forth by the International Reading Association and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the literacy program develops the knowledge, skills, and dispositions literacy educators need in order to effectively teach all students ways of using multiple forms of text that will provide them with opportunities for success in a global community. The program embraces the belief that all children learn and that learning occurs when students are actively engaged in constructing meaning within a collaborative and supportive community of learners. As such, our candidates for professional certification in literacy learn how to create learning environments that address the diverse learning needs of students, are informed by best practices, use ongoing meaningful assessment of student learning, and are continuously informed by self reflection and a commitment to professional development. Finally, our candidates learn how to disseminate information about literacy development to the family and community so that literacy learning becomes meaningful in all aspects of a child's life.

The program is designed for teachers who hold initial or provisional classroom certification and wish to become certified in Literacy Education. We offer two graduate literacy programs leading towards professional certification, one in Literacy Birth - Grade 6 and the second is in Literacy Grades 5 - 12. The Literacy Education and Special Education programs are designed to be mutually supportive by providing preparation that will give the teacher candidate knowledge and expertise in both areas. The logic behind the linkage of the two programs is simple: literacy teachers frequently work extensively with children with exceptional learning needs, and special education teachers frequently find that the primary tool or skill they need to teach is literacy.

School of Education Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program our candidates will be able to:

  • Choose literacy practices that demonstrate knowledge of psychological, social, cultural, and linguistic foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major components of reading (phonemic awareness, word identification and phonics, vocabulary and background knowledge, fluency, comprehension strategies, and motivation) and how they are integrated into fluent reading.
  • Use their knowledge of the writing processes, language development, writing development and ongoing assessment to provide instruction in the components of writing, assist students in constructing meaning in their written work, and provide genuine opportunities for students to write for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of language development and literacy acquisition and the variations related to culture and linguistic diversity.
  • Select and use a wide range of instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials, including technology-based practices, to support reading and writing instruction for learners at different stages of reading and writing development and from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Select and use a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading and writing instruction that meet the needs of all students including those at differing developmental stages and those from differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Create a caring, supportive, inclusive, challenging democratic and safe learning environment that fosters literacy development, independently and collaboratively, by integrating foundational knowledge, use of instructional practices, approaches and methods, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessments.
  • Demonstrate valuing of the role of student language, particularly student talk, in student learning, and establish an appreciation of student culture/language background as a foundation for future learning and engagement in learning.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the new literacies (i.e., digital, visual and media literacy) and their impact on literacy acquisition and instruction.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and respect for the role language and literacy play within various disciplines (social studies, science, mathematics, foreign language, etc.).
  • Demonstrate multiple comprehension strategies appropriate within particular disciplines for development of active literacy users within the subject area.
  • Create ways to engage students, teachers, parents, and other adults from the community to enrich instruction.
  • Participate in, initiate, implement, and evaluate professional development programs.
  • Contribute actively to the improvement of teaching, learning, and the advancement of knowledge and profession practice.


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