The Warner School’s teacher education programs in literacy are designed to prepare current teachers who want to become reading and literacy specialists or coaches to help improve reading and literacy outcomes for all students.
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.
Our 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 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.
Depending on the context you would like to teach in, and the credentials you may have already obtained, you may choose among the program options listed below to best meet your career goals and situation.
Non-certification program for literacy teachers:
This program has been designed for individuals who are not interested in obtaining or eligible to obtain New York State (NYS) teaching certification – as they are planning to teach students in international, private or charter schools, or other informal learning settings, such as camps, clubs, or after-school programs. As such, this option does not include field experiences or student teaching, and has more flexibility in terms of curriculum and electives.