If you’ve thought about entering the field of education and have always loved reading, you may be interested in what a reading specialist does. This professional is an educator or teacher trained specifically in teaching literacy skills. Specialists are skilled in assessing current reading levels and utilizing various strategies to assist students to improve upon their reading. Reading specialists can work with adults in various settings like Adult Basic Education programs, but they most often work in elementary, middle and high schools, according to the American Literacy Association. Let’s take a closer look at what these literacy instructors do.
More About Reading Specialists
Readings specialists are not just reading teachers. Their formal educational preparation goes beyond that of a regular teacher. They possess advanced knowledge in recognizing what is developmentally expected for readers at each grade level and are able to recognize when a student is having difficulties. They combine their knowledge with testing inventories in order to determine the kinds of problems each student may be experiencing. Then, specialists are able to utilize their knowledge of unique learning styles in order to develop customized lesson plans. These detailed plans with measurable outcomes will help the specialist to determine if students are able to comprehend their assignments, as well as simply having the ability to sound out the words.
Collaborating With Others
Job duties may be a bit different, depending on the work setting, but there are a number of occasions in which you will need to communicate and work with others outside of your immediate role. In the school setting, it’s likely that, as a reading specialist, you would have to meet with parents in order to explain the specific reading issues affecting each child and to discuss at-home activities that may help the students to improve upon specific problems. You may also provide teachers with suggestions on how to handle the reading problems students face in the classroom. In this capacity, you’ll act as a consultant, providing advice, strategies and concrete ideas for how students can receive reading help when they are not working directly with you.
Reading Specialist as Advocate
Another aspect of the job of reading specialists is to act as an advocate of literacy. If you were to work in a school setting, you may be placed in charge of developing school-wide reading programs and campaigns to get everyone excited about reading. There would likely be contests or games involved, with prizes. You might take on other initiatives throughout the school year. If you decide to work with adults, you are constantly serving as an advocate for this population that is often under-served and unrecognized in our society. You will need to find ways to meet the needs of adult learners who have very busy scheduled with limited availability for lessons, as well as their own unique set of educational concerns based on their life stage.
Related Resource: Instructional Coach
Students or adults who need to acquire or improve reading skills can receive assistance from a reading specialist, a knowledgeable expert in the field of literacy.