Reading specialists are trained and credentialed professionals. Their primary focus is the assessment, support and improvement of the reading skills of students. In the school setting, the specific assignments of reading specialists may vary, ranging from K-12 certified teachers to leadership roles spearheading programs that support the reading achievement efforts of students, teachers and parents. Reading specialists may also be deployed to help adult learners improve their reading and comprehension skills.
Reading Rockets is the brainchild of WETA, the public television and radio stations flagship company based in Washington, D.C. It uses a multimedia approach to present evidence-based solutions to reading issues encountered in children. Through the Public Broadcasting Service, Reading Rockets broadcasts programs that show how teachers and parents can help children develop effective reading skills.
Reading Rockets engages with the community through its various websites on ReadingRockets.org and ColorinColorado.org as well as various social media accounts. The websites provide reading-related news updates, helpful tips, interviews with children’s book writers and an e-newsletter for subscribers. Professional development opportunities are provided through free webcasts. Teachers are given the opportunity to listen to various experts.
Dr. Richardson has extensive experience as a literacy consultant with a record of accomplishment as a teacher, reading specialist and staff developer. The resource section of the website links to various articles relevant to enhancing children’s reading skills. Some of the resources cover strategies for teachers who have to deal with the diverse needs and abilities of students.
Dr. Richardson answers questions related to reading assessments, skills and strategies posted on the “Ask Jan” section of the website. These queries are archived and updated as new information becomes available.
The International Reading association was renamed and reorganized to become the International Literacy Association. With worldwide membership exceeding 300,000, the ILA is a an influential advocate for educators and students. The goal of ILA is to support the literacy movement by empowering educators and encouraging those with resources to help out. ILA provides training programs, sponsors teacher appreciation events such as awards ceremonies for outstanding achievement and awards grants for deserving projects.
The resources section provides valuable links to reading lists, a blog, lesson plans and details of the standards set for reading specialists.
The Florida Center for Reading Research is one of the research units at Florida State University. The mission of the FCRR is to examine all available reading research and use the findings to address deficiencies in reading skills. The research center designs and implements its own psychometric assessments. The FCRR also develops strategies for intervention and prevention of deficiencies and takes charge of disseminating information to the appropriate party.
Teaching Channel Teams is a video-based platform that allows collaboration between participants. This resource has an extensive library of teaching videos that can be combined with user-created videos. Users can also collaborate with each other through the platform to enhance the learning experience and create customized instructional materials.
Related Resource: 5 Great Online Resources for Gifted Resource Specialists
The Expanding Role of the Reading Specialist
Reading specialists have become indispensable to schools and school districts that want to make sure that students develop into competent readers and writers. These professionals may be assigned to a classroom as a teacher or to a school district as a literacy consultant. Even adult learners may benefit from working with reading specialists.