Reading Education (M.Ed.)

Students who read every day perform better on tests, achieve more academically, develop a broader vocabulary, and gain a better understanding of other cultures.


Program Overview

As a reading educator, foster this love of reading in the classroom and beyond. Develop the skills required of reading specialists-literacy development, assessment, and instruction. 

This three-semester program is designed for licensed teachers or those with equivalent teaching experience who want to focus on literacy development, assessment, and instruction of students with diverse learning and literacy needs. Alumni can be found working as academic intervention specialists, reading specialists, literacy coaches, educational specialists, classroom teachers, and out-of-school literacy program coordinators.


Of job-seeking Reading Education graduates, 97% were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation. Recent career placements include: 

  • Exceptional Education Teacher, LEAD Cameron Middle School, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Fourth Grade Teacher, Northlake Hill Elementary School, Santa Clarita, California
  • Ph.D. Candidate, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • Reading Interventionist, European School Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Study Activation Specialist, Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Nashville, Tennessee
Dan Parsons

"Peabody has given me the necessary tools to provide all of my students an equitable literacy education."

Dan Parsons
M.Ed., Language Arts Teacher, Liberty Middle School

Program Facts

Program Director: Emily Pendergrass
Admissions Coordinator: Erica Bodden
Admission Term: Fall and Summer
Credit Hours: 31

Application Dates

  • Application Deadline 1

    Jan 3, 2024

  • Application Deadline 2

    Feb 3, 2024 

  • Rolling Admissions

    After Feb 3, 2024*

    *Applications received after the Feb 3rd second deadline are reviewed on a rolling basis and accepted as space and funds allow.

Program Curriculum

The program is designed to fulfill the requirements for an add-on endorsement as a reading specialist. Careful selection of coursework can lead to dual English language learners (ELL) and reading specialist endorsements.


  • Required and Elective Courses

    Required Courses: 21 credit hours

    • EDUC 6400 Literacy Development
    • EDUC 6410 Literacy Assessment and Instruction for Grades K-5
    • EDUC 6420 Literacy Assessment and Instruction for Grades 6-12
    • ENED 6440 Teaching Digital Literacies
    • EDUC 6421 Literacy Leaders Practicum
    • EDUC 6470 Literacy Coaching and Professional Development
    • EDUC 7992 Capstone Seminar

    And choose one of the following:

    • EDUC 6450 Teaching and Learning the Language Arts: Theory and Research
    • EDUC 6530 Educational Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
    • ENED 6310 Perspectives on the English Language
    • SPEDS 7800 Speech and Language for Exceptional Learners

    Reading Education Professional Core: 9 credit hours
    At least two of the following four areas must be represented.

    Area 1: Humanistic Dimensions of Education

    • EDUC 6020 Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
    • EDUC 6050 Parents, the School, and the Community
    • EDUC 6060 Cultural Diversity in American Education
    • EDUC 6300 Advanced Social and Philosophical Aspects of Education
    • EDUC 6520 Foundations for ELL Education
    • EDUC 8040 Diversity and Equality in Education

    Area 2: Behavioral Studies

    • EDUC 6010 Psychological Foundations of Education
    • EDUC 8200 Foundations in Learning and Development
    • PSY-GS 8400 Developmental Psychology
    • SPED 7000 Education and Psychology of Exceptional Learners

    Area 3: Teaching Strategies and Curriculum

    • EDUC 6070 Foundations of Education
    • EDUC 6080 Principles of Curriculum Development
    • EDUC 6310 Advanced Teaching in Secondary Schools
    • EDUC 6540 Methods and Materials for ELL Education

    Area 4. Assessment and Research Tools

    • EDUC 6040 Analysis of Teaching
    • EDUC 7810 Inquiry into Contexts
    • EDUC 7990 Master's Thesis in Education

    Reading Education Electives: 3 credit hours

    • EDUC 6450 Teaching and Learning the Language Arts
    • EDUC 6520 Foundations for ELL Education
    • EDUC 6550 Assessment of ELL Students
    • ENED 6080 Advanced Study of Literature for Children
    • ENED 6200 Teaching Literature in Elementary Classrooms
    • ENED 6310 Perspectives on the English Language
    • ENED 6360 Literature, Popular Culture, and New Media
    • ENED 6380 Teaching Writing and Multimedia Composition
    • SPEDE 7400 Foundations of Early Childhood Special Education
    • SPEDS 7800 Speech and Language for Exceptional Learners
  • Practicum

    One of the greatest strengths of the Reading Education program is the varied, multiple field opportunities available to you. Through partnerships with several area public schools, you'll gain experience in teaching and assessing P-12 students and collaborating with and supporting teachers, paraprofessionals, and other colleagues.

    Many of our students also work as teaching assistants for undergraduate education classes, a rich experience of learning about teaching through practice alongside a Vanderbilt education professor.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Reading Education Program works with licensed teachers to enhance instruction for students who might be struggling with school-based reading. This entails paying attention to equitable instruction for diverse learners and literate environments. Additionally, we think strategically about school-level, literacy-based professional development that is tailored to the needs of each school.

Selected Faculty Research

Emily Pendergrass

Emily Pendergrass, associate professor of the practice of literacy education

Professor Pendergrass specializes in supporting struggling readers in the context of reading as a community practice, with special reference to professional development and new literacies including technologies. Additionally, she works closely with local public schools in literacy coaching and facilitating professional development workshops.


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