Why This Matters


    According to the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, about 21% of adults in the U.S. have low literacy, meaning they have difficulty completing basic reading and comprehension tasks.


    A master’s in literacy and reading can open the door to a variety of careers, including teaching in elementary and secondary classrooms, teaching ESL in the U.S. and internationally, and designing curriculums.


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 512,900 new jobs in education and related occupations through the next decade. Preschool teachers are the most in-demand, with 36,900 job openings expected.

Our Research

This list focuses on master’s programs in reading and literacy. The most common graduate degrees in this subject are a Master of Education (M.Ed), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Science (MS).

We specifically sought programs that are delivered fully or primarily online, ensuring accessibility for the greatest number of students, regardless of location or schedule.

To guarantee that programs meet the highest standards of quality, we only included schools that have regional accreditation. Additionally, many programs are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educational Programs (CAEP), which is a specialized agency overseeing postsecondary education programs.

Once we found the programs that met our criteria, we evaluated each of them on the basis of faculty, flexibility, reputation, cost, and outcomes. Using this information, we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 52 hours to write this article
  • 151 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 414 education programs we compared

The Top 19 Online Master’s in Reading And Literacy Programs

Best Online Master's in Reading and Literacy Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

In order to teach in public schools in the U.S., educators need a state-issued teaching license or certification. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum required level of education needed to obtain teaching credentials. However, some states do require students to eventually earn a master’s degree in order to maintain their credentials.

When it comes to master’s in literacy and reading degrees, some programs are designed for educators who already have their teaching license or certificate, while others will lead to licensure or certification after completion. Your educational and professional background will determine which type of program you are seeking.

If you are earning your master’s as a pathway to obtaining your credentials, review your state’s regulations before selecting a program. Some programs only prepare students for licensure or certification in the state in which the program is located. Individuals who do not have state-issued teaching credentials will be limited to job opportunities in private, charter, and alternative schools.

Another consideration is attending a program that is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Some states require that students complete a CAEP-accredited program as a prerequisite for obtaining their licensure or certification.

What’s Next?

Here are questions you can ask when researching online master’s in reading and literacy programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most programs are designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in education, as well as classroom experience and teaching licensure. The number of years of experience required can vary by program. Look at the program’s eligibility requirements carefully to ensure that you meet the minimum qualifications for the program you select.span>
  • Are there any in-person requirements for this program? Hands-on classroom experience is an important component of most reading and literacy programs. In instances where students are currently teaching, you may be able to complete these requirements in your classroom. Otherwise, find out the details of the program’s experiential learning components, and make sure you can accommodate them in your schedule.

Other steps you can take at this time include gathering your application materials as well as confirming application submissions deadlines and procedures. This information is usually available on the school’s website, or you can contact their admissions department.

You should also consider how you will finance your graduate education. Explore options including student loans, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition assistance benefits from your employer, if available.