Prepare to Become a Reading Specialist in Elementary Classrooms
The Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Teaching Reading at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is designed for those who wish to pursue a career as an elementary teacher and take the steps to earning their initial teacher licensure. Offered both online and on campus (including evening courses), the reading specialist courses are taught by professionals who offer additional reading instruction that supports the processes of reading diagnosis, remediation and intervention. If becoming an elementary reading teacher excites you, this may be a good education path for you.
A reading specialist is a professional with advanced experience in teaching reading and who helps children improve their reading abilities individually or as part of a group.1 Reading specialists have in-depth knowledge about:
- Teaching reading
- Skill development strategies
- Reading comprehension
- Skills to work with struggling readers in elementary school
This specialty often requires additional certifications beyond an elementary teaching license to provide supplemental instruction for students who need additional practice.2
Pursue Your BS in Elementary Education: Teaching Reading Emphasis From GCU
This program prepares you to work toward becoming an elementary teacher who has additional credits in the area of reading. At GCU, you will be taught to apply concepts, theories and research throughout the program for career readiness. You will focus on supporting readers during your elementary education field experiences that guide you through 120 hours of observational and practice-based experiences.
As a teacher candidate, you will be exposed to elementary learning environment practicums completed in a 15-week student teaching experience. Graduates of this program are eligible to pursue their elementary education teaching credential in the state of Arizona (120 credits). Ensure that you carefully review the requirements for obtaining a teaching license in the state where you plan to teach.
Highlights in This Teaching Reading Emphasis
This comprehensive program encompasses a wide range of content areas spanning kindergarten through grade eight, including:
- Lesson planning and assessments
- Classroom management and engagement
- Social justice
- Family and cultural diversity
- English as a second language
- Reading instruction and assessment
- Instructional methods and strategies
Reading Specialist Courses Taught in This Education Program
Throughout your academic journey, you will have the opportunity to develop competencies in various crucial aspects of elementary education, including development, learning, motivation, curriculum content instruction, assessment and professionalism. Areas of study covered in GCU’s reading specialist courses include:
- Foundational literacy skills and phonics
- Methods and strategies for reading instruction
- Assessment and remediation of reading proficiency
- Research-based reading development and interventions
- Diagnosis and remediation of reading proficiencies
Elementary Reading Teacher Career Opportunities After Graduation
The degree emphasis in teaching reading courses will focus on educating teachers with additional skills and refined knowledge in the reading remediation process. Accordingly, graduates may be able to position themselves to pursue an elementary education teacher position with a focus on teaching reading in the K–8 classroom environment, as well as a teaching position in postsecondary education.
This bachelor’s in elementary reading teacher emphasis leads to initial licensure in the area of elementary education. Graduates who wish to become full reading specialists will need to move on to pursue a graduate level certificate in reading for elementary educators and/or a Master of Arts in Reading with an Emphasis in Elementary Education, advanced programs for continuing professional education that can enhance your qualifications for specialized teaching opportunities in reading.
Accredited Teaching Degree from GCU
The structure and curriculum of this accredited Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Teaching Reading is approved by the Arizona State Board of Education. Courses are taught by professionals in their respective fields who lend their knowledge and experience in areas of elementary education and educational psychology. All courses are directly aligned with standards from the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Bachelor’s in Elementary Education: Emphasis in Teaching Reading FAQs
If teaching reading in elementary education is something that interests you, consider pursuing this BS in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Teaching Reading degree. We understand this is a big commitment, so we’ve gathered a few of our most frequently asked questions when deciding to become a K-8 educator.
Prepare to pursue a teaching role with a solid foundation in teaching reading to elementary education students today. Fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor to better understand how long it takes to earn your degree.
If seeking licensure or certification, applicants to the program are responsible for contacting their state department of education for licensure requirements and program approval. In addition, fingerprint and background clearance is required.
1 International Reading Associates (n.d.). Roles of the Reading Specialist. Reading Rockets. Retrieved on July 10, 2023.
2 Planbook (n.d.). Meet Your Teaching Team: The Role of Reading Specialists in Schools. Retrieved on July 10, 2023.
3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022, Oct. 4). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers. Retrieved on July 10, 2022.
4 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers as of May 2021, retrieved on July 20, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as kindergarten and elementary school teachers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.