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Reading Specialist (17) Licensure Program

17 License Program Description (doc)


Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this program is to prepare the candidate to become a reading specialist and supply the required “competencies” of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for certification as Reading Specialist.  Teachers who have the 316 license may earn the Reading Specialist license (17) by taking graduate level courses in reading. A reading specialist works with school district staff and students in providing in-service training for content area teachers and testing for specific students. Graduate students who do not already have a master's degree usually complete their MST-Reading along with the 17 license requirements. The MST degree requires students to take CI 788, as well as the other required 17 courses, have a minimum of 30 graduate credits, and complete an exit option including an oral examination.

If you already have a Master's degree and want to receive your 17 license, please contact the Department of Education Studies to meet with a member of the literacy faculty since you will not be assigned an advisor as a special student.

Wisconsin DPI Rules for Certification
as a Reading Teacher

In order to be certified as a reading specialist you must:

  • Be eligible to hold a Wisconsin reading teacher license.
  • Have a master's degree with a major emphasis in reading or at least a 30 graduate semester credit program equivalent to the master's degree with a minimum of 15 graduate semester credits which include all of the following:

    - Guiding and directing the kindergarten through grade 12 reading program.
    - Field experience in kindergarten through grade 12 reading programs.
    - Research related to reading.
    - Supervision of instruction.
    - Content area reading for the reading specialist.

  • Have a portfolio you create to demonstrate your competency approved by the literacy faculty.

UW-Eau Claire Courses for Certification

The additional coursework required for the 17 license and MST-Reading degree includes the following courses:

ES 788: Introduction to Educational Inquiry
ES 765: Reading Symposium (summer-one credit course includes attendance at symposium in Madison, WI)
ES 768: Reading Seminar (offered even year summers only) (take with CI 765 if possible)
ES 731: Supervision of Reading Instruction (offered even year falls only)
ES 741: Guiding and Directing the Reading Program (offered odd year springs only; 731 is a prerequisite)
ES 753: Facilitating Literacy Across the Curriculum (offered even years spring only) (may have been taken as part of the 316 license)
ES 726: Issues of Critical Literacy in Grades K-12 (offered odd year fall only) (may have been taken as part of the 316 license)

Course Descriptions

MST Reading Program

Recommended Sequence of Courses

If you are pursuing your master's degree, it is recommended that you take ES 788 as early in your program as possible.

While availability of courses in this program will have an impact on the sequence of courses you choose, ES 731 must be taken before ES 741.

Plan for Reading Specialist Certification

The certification plan must be filled out by the teacher and an advisor from the literacy program.  Please contact the Education Studies office—(715) 836-2013—to be given an advisor if you are not applying for admission to the graduate program. 

Certification Plan form

Procedures for Applying for Certification

After you have completed the required courses and approval of your portfolio, as well as have taught for three years, you need to fill out the License Application for Initial In-State Administration or Reading, and send it, related documentation, and the required fee to our Certification and Licensure office (151 Brewer Hall) for processing.  The form can be found at

If your initial teaching certification is not from Wisconsin, please see the information from the WI DPI