SMU has made a commitment to promote a variety of reading initiatives through several educational programs, including the graduate-level Master Reading Teacher (MRT) program of the Texas Education Agency, a Master Reading Teacher (MRT) certificate program equips experienced teachers with the tools and knowledge to serve as reading resource specialists to both students and teachers in elementary schools.
The goal of SMU's MRT program is to provide teachers with expertise grounded in the latest research on reading–including issues related to reading acquisition, second language learners, reading difficulties and disabilities, and dyslexia. In a time of increasing demand for expert reading teachers and an emphasis on scores on reading tests, SMU's program provides teachers with the tools essential for teaching reading with success. State MRT standards and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are fully integrated into coursework through demonstrations, lesson planning, and as resources. The MRT courses may be applied to the specialization module of SMU's Master of Education.
There are four three-hour courses and two 1-hour practica (a total of 14 semester hours) in the MRT program, taken in sequence, and completed within two academic years. After successful completion of the six-course sequence, students must take and pass the SMU Qualifying Exam before receiving approval to take the state examination. A strong element in each of the courses is a practicum in which teacher participants apply their knowledge in classroom settings. All courses include the latest research findings and applications for students who are second-language learners or advanced learners or who experience reading disabilities (including dyslexia). The courses include: