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Top 25 Online Master’s in Reading & Literacy Programs

Earning a master’s in reading online prepares graduates to ensure students’ academic achievement through the development of curricula in reading and literacy strategies. Online master’s in reading and literacy programs equip graduates to assess the effectiveness of instructional strategies and to integrate research and theory into their teaching practice.

Graduates of online reading master’s programs work as kindergarten and elementary school teachers and with adult learners. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow 6% by 2024. A rise in student enrollment will drive the demand for reading and literacy professionals, making now the perfect time to earn an online master’s in reading.

What Are THe Best Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy Programs?

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Reading & Literacy Program

When evaluating master’s in reading online programs, consider tuition costs relative to your budget. Also ensure that the online reading master’s program offers the specialization you are interested in. Determine how many years you will need to complete the program, especially if you plan to work full-time while earning your degree. Some online programs have on-campus requirements; decide whether you can commit to in-person elements, particularly if the school is out of state.

Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Reading & Literacy Programs

After earning a master’s in reading online, graduates pursue careers that allow them to make a difference in others’ lives. Degree holders use their expertise and knowledge in education to prepare students for academic achievement. Along with personal and professional satisfaction, careers in reading and literacy offer competitive salaries.

Job Outlook and Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of kindergarten and elementary teachers, including those specializing in reading and literacy, will grow 6% by 2024. The number of students enrolled in kindergarten and elementary school will increase over the next decade, which means schools will need more teachers. Salaries for those with a master’s degree in reading and literacy vary by career, experience, and geographic location.

Projected Employment for Management Careers
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
1,517,400 1,605,200

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

SALARY GROWTH BY EXPERIENCE

The salaries of educators who specialize in reading and literacy increase with experience. Entry-level elementary school teachers earn a median salary of $40,000 per year, while those with at least two decades of experience earn 45% more, nearly $57,000 per year. The specific career also impacts earnings; curriculum specialists generally earn higher salaries than reading specialists. Other variables that influence salary include geographic location and the type of institution. The table below details average salary growth over the course of a career.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Professional organizations give members opportunities to network with other education professionals. These organizations provide resources and engagement opportunities to keep members apprised of innovations in the field and to help them develop professionally. Organizations also offer careers services and job boards to help members with master’s in reading and literacy advance their careers. Below are a few prominent professional organizations in special education.

National Council of Teachers of English

This organization promotes literacy development and furthers the teaching and learning of English and language arts at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

American Federation of Teachers

This union organization represents 1.6 million teachers in more than 3,000 local affiliates across the U.S. Its members advocate for high-quality public education and for fairness, democracy, and economic opportunities for teachers.

National Education Association

As the largest professional organization in the country, with three million members, this organization is committed to advancing U.S. public education at every level.


To determine the best online master’s in reading & literacy programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 25 best master’s in reading & literacy programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.