National Recognition

Reading/Literacy Specialist Programs

ILA National Recognition and ILA National Recognition With Distinction honors outstanding advanced licensure, certificate, or endorsement programs that prepare candidates for roles as reading/literacy specialists.

The primary role of reading/literacy specialists is instructional. Professionals in these roles predominantly work with students who experience difficulties with reading and writing in grades pre-K–12. Reading/literacy specialists must have the skills, knowledge, and disposition to work with teachers effectively and improve general classroom literacy instruction.

For a program to achieve recognition, it is recommended that reading/literacy specialist candidates have the following at the conclusion of their program:

  • A valid teaching certificate
  • Teaching experience, preferably two years' worth at the completion of the reading/literacy specialist program
  • The equivalent of 21–27 graduate credits in literacy and related courses
  • Supervised practicum experiences related to their work with students and their work with colleagues

Program faculty who prepare reading/literacy specialists are invited to examine their program using the standards and matrices delineated in Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017) to determine if they meet the criteria for ILA National Recognition and ILA National Recognition With Distinction.

Reading/literacy specialist program review consists of two stages:

Stage I: National Recognition

Institutions submit a self-study that will be evaluated by a team of ILA-trained reviewers. Specific attention will be paid to how programs align with elements and rubrics identified in Standards 2017. If your self-study garners distinguished results and approval, you will receive ILA National Recognition.

Stage II: National Recognition With Distinction

Programs that have earned ILA National Recognition and garnered distinguished ratings and approval may advance to Stage II, which involves a site visit to your institution. A team of ILA-trained reviewers will be tasked with assessing your program through the dual lens of Standards 2017 and your self-study as well as conducting interviews with faculty, administrators, and current and former students.

If your program obtains an outstanding site visit review, your institution will receive ILA National Recognition With Distinction—the highest honor ILA awards to preparatory and licensure programs. Programs are reviewed in spring and fall cycles.

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