Master of Education in Reading and Writing Program

Master of Education in Reading and Writing Program

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al otaibaThe Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Reading and Writing degree at Southern Methodist University is designed to meet the needs of practicing teachers.  

Admission requirements for the program can be viewed here

IDA Recognized Program SealThe Master of Education in Reading and Writing at Southern Methodist University is uniquely designed to prepare teachers for leadership in the implementation of the multi-tiered model of reading instruction currently being put into effect in schools in Texas and across the country.

Multi-tiered instruction is part of the Response to Intervention model. Within this model, schools identify and assist struggling students before they fall behind.

  • Tier I instruction is typically defined as reading instruction provided to all students in a class.
  • Students not responding well to this instruction are provided with Tier II instruction, which usually consists of supplemental, small group reading instruction.
  • Students still not responding well, even with Tier II instruction, are provided with more specialized and intensive assistance in Tier III.

Our program specifically prepares teachers to implement this model based on the most recent scientific evidence and best practice. When the entire program is completed, teachers will have earned a master's degree in education and be eligible to sit for the Texas Reading Specialist exam and the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) Teaching Level exam. Once certified as a Texas Reading Specialist, candidates are qualified to apply for MRT certification without taking an examination.

Program Structure

In the M.Ed. in Reading and Writing program, participants enter as a member of a cohort and progress through the program in a structured manner. Learning and working in a cohort builds on shared knowledge and experiences and develops a supportive peer group. The basic program consists of 36 hours of coursework and field experiences. The program is selective and intense, offering well-qualified and motivated individuals the opportunity to develop a high level of expertise in teaching reading and writing and prepare for leadership positions in bringing evidence-based practices in reading and writing to their campuses. The structure of the program is designed to accommodate practicing teachers. Two new cohorts will begin each fall. The program can be completed in 24 months.

Expectations during program participation

The program includes extensive field experience hours that must be completed in order to sit for some state certifications. These will be discussed during orientation and advising. You can contact the Department of Teaching and Learning office (214-768-2346) or the graduate advisers for more information. Eligibility for state certifications will also be discussed during orientation and advising. 

In addition to satisfactory attendance and performance in the coursework of the program, each participant with an initial certification and two years of teaching experience will be required to attend Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES) review sessions and pass the practice test prior to taking any TExES examination.


Ed.D., Vanderbilt University

Dr. Jill Allor received her Ed.D. in special education with an emphasis on reading and reading disabilities from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1996. A former special education teacher, her research is school-based and focuses on reading acquisition for students with and without disabilities, including students with learning disabilities or intellectual disabilities. Learn More...

Phone: 214-768-1495
Office: Simmons Hall, Room 352


Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Stephanie Al Otaiba, Ph.D. joined Southern Methodist University in January 2012 as Professor of Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at the Florida State University (FSU) and was on faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research. She received her Ph.D. in 2000 in Human Development from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and prior to that, she was a special educator for over a decade in the United Arab Emirates. Learn More...

Phone: 214-768-1339
Office: Simmons Hall, Room 348

Program Director and Adjunct Lecturer

Karen VickeryEd.D., Texas A&M Commerce

Dr. Vickery has taught in the public schools of Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas for 35 years?teaching grades 2-6 in elementary school and reading to all levels. Dr. Vickery has been active in the field of dyslexia and related written-language disorders in the capacity of teacher, therapist, public school administrator, and University Program Director. Dr. Vickery is a nationally respected dyslexia specialist; she currently teaches graduate-level courses at SMU through the Learning Therapist Graduate Certificate Program. Learn more...

Phone: 972-473-3430
Office: SMU-in-Plano, 5236 Tennyson Pkwy, Bldg 4, Suite 108

Beverly WeiserResearch Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Southern Methodist University

Dr. Beverly Weiser received her Ph.D. in Education from Southern Methodist University in 2010 with an emphasis on education research and statistics. A former third grade teacher for 11 years, she also has over nine years of experience as an educational consultant specializing in instructional curriculum and implementation, coaching teachers and reading specialists, completing statistical analysis, working on computer assisted technology curriculum, participating in educational leadership research, and testing of students with reading, spelling, writing, and mathematics difficulties. Learn more...

Phone: 214-768-4641
Office: Expressway Tower, Suite 1150