Programs Preparing Literacy Teachers

Live to Inspire.
Love to Teach.

Do you love literacy and want to make a difference in people's lives? Then consider becoming a reading specialist.
Literacy is critical to success in school and careers. Whether by working directly with students experiencing difficulties, or by coaching other teachers to become more effective with their students, you can impact many students by dramatically improving their reading and literacy outcomes.  Warner will prepare you to become an effective and innovative reading and literacy specialist, committed and able to help all students succeed.  

Our teacher preparation programs offer the shortest path to NYS initial and professional teaching certification and a guaranteed 50% tuition scholarship.
Guaranteed 50% Tuition Scholarship!Learn More About Our Scholarships

Program Quickview

All the Warner programs described below prepare current teachers for NYS professional certification in Teaching Literacy (birth-grade 6 and/or grades 5-12), and are all offered at the graduate level only.

If you are interested in other literacy education programs, check our Related Programs.
Prerequisites (as required by NYS):
  • NYS Initial teaching certification in any area.
Key Program Features:
  • Flexible: The program can be completed in 15 months of full-time study, or two years of part-time study while holding a teaching position.
  • Focus on Literacy: Includes 24 credits of literacy courses and two 100-hour reading practica.  
  • Unique Internship Opportunities: Option to conduct a special supervised internship as part of Project READ at School #33 and/or East High School.
  • Option to Add Extensions and Specializations: With only a few extra credits, you can get certified to teach at birth-grade 12 and/or add advanced certificates that can strengthen your effectiveness with diverse learners and make you more marketable; see Opportunities for Additional Extensions and Specializations

Warner Programs that Prepare Literacy Teachers

For Preservice Teachers with No Prior Teaching Certification

  • MS Programs (36 credits, including six credits of reading practica); for students who still need to obtain NYS professional teaching certification in their area or want to be eligible for student loans:
high school student hiding behind Romeo & Juliet
Opportunities for Additional Specializations (with minimum additional credits required):
  • Teaching Literacy Birth-Grade 12: Add only two reading practica with students at the other age level.
  • Advanced Certificate in Digitally-Rich Teaching: Prepares you to make the best use of digital technology in your teaching.
  • Advanced Certificate in Urban Teaching and Leadership: Prepares you to teach and lead in racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse urban settings.
  • NYS Certification in TESOL: Prepares you to better serve English language learners in your classes and qualifying you to teach ESOL courses.

Licensure in other states. Review certification and licensure requirements for Warner programs.

Our Approach

Creating Effective Literacy Teachers Who Can Inspire and Lead Change.

Warner’s approach to literacy education reflects what we know about how students learn and develop language and literacy. We prepare innovative teachers who can inspire and lead change.

Literacy is more than words on a page and a discrete set of skills that are taught in the classroom. Literacy is a set of social practices that children use in school, at home, and in their communities to interpret and shape the world in meaningful ways. By making connections with what kids are doing in and outside of schools, literacy teachers, specialists, and coaches today are expanding the possibilities for student learning—a positive change that has a broader impact on society. Students take these skills, knowledge, and experiences to solve real-world problems and make the world a better place.
Alexa Basile earned her MS in literacy at Warner in 2015 and is a current student in the EDD program in teaching and curriculum. 
Learn More About Warner's Approach to Literacy Education
elementary student in classroom holding a new bookOur graduates become educators who embrace curricula and pedagogical approaches that foster collaborative learning and recognize that knowledge of literacy is constructed through their students’ resources and everyday practices that they bring to the classroom. They help their students, as well as other teachers, discover that literacy is much more than conventional reading and writing. The students whom they work with develop a level of literacy that is a critical determinant of success throughout school and in their communities. They learn to read and understand complicated materials, think critically, and solve real-world problems.

Our program is built around the premise that children begin learning literacy as early as birth through everyday interactions, such as reading books, singing songs, interacting with others, and naming and pointing out objects. Meaningful literacy activities like these expand vocabularies, enrich their experiences, and impact a child’s development during the early and preschool years. This emphasis on developing literacy, through both new and traditional literacies and social practices, is carried out throughout the elementary and secondary school years, where literacy instruction is included in all academic areas, including math, science, and social studies, and across all grade levels.

Our program prepares literacy specialists who construct classroom environments that promote social justice. They develop an understanding of literacy as a social practice and apply that perspective into instruction practices that actively draw upon their students’ diverse interests and cultures as they use literacy in personal, purposeful, and meaningful ways. They look at what children bring to school and how classrooms can build on these experiences.

Lastly, they have the courage and conviction to lead struggles for social justice, in-depth knowledge of literacy, and the skills and understanding needed to help all students develop to their fullest potential. They also know what is appropriate for the age/grade level and the subject area that they teach and for the children, families, and communities in which they work. And, they lead efforts to advocate for full inclusion for students with disabilities in general education classrooms as part of their efforts to reform schools.

The Warner Advantage

Preparing Graduates to Innovate, Advocate, and Elevate.

Our teacher preparation programs in literacy will help you stand out from others and prepare you to excel in your career.
  • Become a literacy specialist who can help create learning opportunities that are inviting and accessible for all students – engaging with cutting-edge research and educational innovations.
  • Be challenged to be an agent of change, who can effectively introduce new ideas and practices that will enhance students’ learning and address current inequities.
  • Leverage the reputation of a leading research university to strengthen recognition of your degree.
  • Network with the best and the brightest future colleagues.
  • Make yourself stand out when applying for teaching positions by pursuing additional specializations for a few additional credits.
  • Learn from an accessible, supportive faculty of researchers and accomplished practitioners who will prepare you to become adaptive experts in today’s K-12 schools.
  • Shorten your path to a doctoral degree by earning transferable credits.
While rigorous, Warner’s teacher preparation programs are both flexible and affordable.
  • Benefit from a guaranteed 50% scholarship.
  • Take advantage of online learning options that help reduce trips to campus.
  • Choose your pace and start any semester.

All About Experience

Your experience at Warner will be informed by the many research projects and community initiatives we are engaged in. In addition, you'll benefit from the experience of faculty that include nationally recognized researchers, award-winning authors and accomplished practitioners.

Horizons at Warner: Enrichment Program for RCSD Students in Grades K-8

Horizons at Warner: Enrichment Program for RCSD Students in Grades K-8

Warner hosts a six-week summer enrichment program that engages urban K-12 students in meaningful and authentic learning experiences. The Horizons program creates a unique opportunity for Warner students to interact with young learners in an out-of-school setting. Opportunities for paid teaching experiences in this program are also available after graduation for a limited number of students.

Project READ Literacy Program

Project READ Literacy Program

Project READ aims to strengthen children’s literacy learning and looks at literacy as it takes part in every aspect of every child’s life—from the classroom to home. Warner students have the opportunity to take advantage of paid internship opportunities, providing tutoring services, in-class support, professional development, and family literacy activities in a local urban elementary school as well as part of our East partnership.

East High School Partnership

East High School Partnership

Our students have the opportunity to observe and learn from the reforming of an urban high school. As the Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) for East High School, we are overseeing a radical transformation affecting all aspects of the school – including how to support students' literacy learning.

Career Opportunities

Advancing Education and Your Career to the Next Level.

Graduates from Warner literacy programs will have the credentials needed to work as a literacy specialist in New York State (NYS) public schools and other states that recognize NYS teaching certification. This role may involve teaching literacy courses to students, supporting struggling readers one-on-one, coaching and supporting teachers, and providing professional development.

At the same time, some of our graduates have chosen to pursue careers other than teaching in K-12 public schools. These include teaching in private schools and other educational settings, including informal and after-school environments, community-based organizations, and teaching literacy skills at a community college or learning centers in a higher education institution.
teachers working with two elementary school students on writing


An Accessible, Supportive Faculty of Researchers and Accomplished Practitioners.


Making Warner Affordable.

The Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester is pleased to offer a number of scholarships to eligible students who enroll in teacher preparation programs. These scholarships are made possible by federal grants as well as the generous support of donors, who are committed to the success of future teachers.

Byron Williams Teaching Scholarships – Guaranteed 50% Tuition Savings
All new students starting their master’s programs in teacher education leading to New York State teaching certification are guaranteed a minimum 50 percent tuition scholarship, provided they commit to teach in a United States school for a minimum of two years after graduation.

Vasquez in class at table with studnets

Try Us Out

Get a Taste of What Warner Has to Offer.

We invite you to visit one of our innovative instructional programs, including:
  • Horizons Summer Enrichment Program: A six-week, full-day summer programs for K-8 students in the city of Rochester that takes place on the University of Rochester campus, and provides its students with authentic literacy learning opportunities in an informal context.
  • East High: This Rochester City School District secondary school is undergoing major transformation under the oversight of the University of Rochester as an educational partnership organization.
Take A Course! You can also experience Warner as a non-matriculated student for a highly discounted price.

Contact admissions to arrange for a visit or learn more about opportunities for non-matriculated students.
professor and teachers with a student in the classroom at a book event


Meliora means 'Ever Better.' To our graduates, it means making a world of difference.

  • Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

    "The growth I’ve realized in myself is something I will be forever grateful for. I’ve learned to question, analyze, think and create in ways I never considered. I’ve changed as an educator and as a person."

    Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

  • Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

    “I had a very unique situation. I wasn’t going down the typical path of a Warner student, and the school was just so flexible and supportive.”

    Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

  • Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

    “It was more than I expected. Not only what I learned in the program, which I’ve been able to put into practice every day since, but also the connections I was able to make and the relationships I was able to form."

    Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

  • Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

    "The most important thing I received there was the opportunity to be immersed in the study of education and leadership with very talented people, that think-tank mentality of being surrounded by the best of the best. The intellectual stimulation from both the staff and fellow classmates really did allow me to think about things differently."

    Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

  • Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

    “As educators, it’s our job to make sure we’re giving students the knowledge to be successful when they move on in their life….Warner was the best grad school experience I’ve ever had because it prepared me extremely well to jump into my career, and I will forever be grateful for that.”

    Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

  • Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children

    “When it came time to interview for jobs, it was very easy for me to talk about anything in the field, and that set me apart,” he says. “You name it, and I had at least one experience in it—largely due to Warner.”

    Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children's Zone, New York, NY

Contact Admissions

The admissions team looks forward to assisting you as you explore graduate education at the Warner School. Please feel free to use the form below to contact us with any questions. You can also email us at or call (585) 275-3950.

Application Deadlines

The next application deadline is March 01, 2023. View all  Admissions Deadlines.

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