Become an elementary teacher and literacy specialist

In this master’s-level teaching program for individuals without an undergraduate degree in Education, you’ll learn to teach common-branch subjects in grades 1-6 and to specialize in teaching students struggling to read and write. 

About Sage’s Childhood Education/Literacy Degree

This combined Childhood Education/Literacy degree program stands out due to its focus on best practices and digital literacy. You’ll learn how to teach in a face-to-face format as well as remotely, getting experience teaching general education students and diverse, at-risk urban learners alike.

Faculty in our teaching degree programs are teachers and administrators in a variety of schools, ensuring the program is enriched with real-word problems and solutions.

When you graduate, you’ll be eligible to become New York State-certified in Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) and Literacy Specialist (Birth-Grade 6) upon successfully completing the Content Specialty tests and edTPA.

This teaching program, part of the Esteves School of Education, is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

If you have initial certification in Childhood Education and wish to add certification as a literacy specialist, please see Sage’s Master of Education in Literacy program or dual master’s degree in Literacy and Special Education.



What is a General Educator?

Those who teach common-branch subjects (reading, writing, science, mathematics, social studies) are general educators. General educators provide high-quality instruction for all learners within their classroom. They also work closely with other colleagues, including literacy specialists, speech/language teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists and special educators to provide appropriate, targeted instruction within the regular classroom.

What is a Literacy Specialist?

Literacy specialists have advanced and detailed understanding of how to teach reading and writing. They provide targeted instruction for students who struggle in these areas, diagnose, interpret, design and implement small group work within and outside the classroom as appropriate. They also provide professional development and support for general education teachers.

“Russell Sage College and the Esteves School of Education act as leaders in teacher education not just in the Capital District, but in New York State.”

Peter Stapleton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Education

Careers with a Childhood Education and Literacy Degree

You’ll go on to teach childhood education to students in grades 1-6 and literacy education for birth-grade 6 after you finish the program and pass the CST and complete the edTPA.

Spotlights Pattern

Student Teaching

As a Childhood Education/Literacy degree candidate, you’ll complete two seven-week student teaching experiences, one in grades 1-3 and another in grades 4-6. You’ll be placed in urban, suburban and rural school districts. Within the literacy clinical experience, you’ll teach at-risk learners in closely supervised practica, where you implement targeted instruction of at least 50 hours across the academic year.

Comprehensive Learning

Learn strategies to teach all core subject areas (grades 1-6) and literacy content, from teaching emergent readers and writers to providing content-area instruction for general education students. You’ll also work in assessment teams to diagnose and develop an instructional plan for a student reading and/or writing significantly below grade level.

Course Objectives

  • develop, implement units and evaluate units of study and lesson plans that are aligned to appropriate standards
  • learn to use assessment to inform instructional decisions
  • become a reflective educator grounded in best practices
  • use technology to aid you in the classroom

Application Requirements

Students are required to submit the following:

  • official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • one letter of recommendation
  • 1-2 page career goals essay
  • GRE is not required

Deadline: Rolling Admission
Start Date: Fall, Spring, Summer semester

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Have questions?

Office Coordinator: Esteves School of Education, Administrative Assistant: Professional Education Programs, and Teacher Certification Officer