Graduate Degree Programs

Master of Education in Reading & Writing (M.Ed.)

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.  

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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 38 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. Students based in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) area will take classes located at the SMU main campus and Plano campus. Students based in the Houston area will take classes located at the Neuhaus Education Center in Bellaire, Texas.

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.

Required Courses


Core Courses for All Cohorts

EDU 6304. Interpreting Educational Research
This course teaches educators how to understand and critically evaluate educational research.  Topics include research design, ethics, sampling, measurement, reliability and validity, statistics, and both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.  Sustained attention is given to the practical application of research findings in educational settings.
EDU 6305 Differentiated Instruction
This course introduces assessment and curriculum design concepts that facilitate differentiation by studying design principles for assessment and using data to plan and implement differentiation of learning processes and student products.
EDU 6315. Diverse Learners
This course introduces students to different teaching approaches that help create equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups. The course will provide strategies to make teaching more effective in increasingly diverse schools. Some sections of this course require Spanish proficiency.
EDU 6322. Educational and Behavioral Psychology 
This course is an advanced survey of areas in psychology with direct application in schools and the educational process, including developmental psychology, learning and the brain, motivation and motivational change, and the theory and practice of testing. The emphasis is on application to real-world problems.

General Requirement Courses for All Cohorts

EDU 6141. Literacy Practicum 1
This course gives students opportunities to apply content from EDU 6340 (Literacy Acquisition) and use materials and strategies discussed in EDU 6340 in their own school settings.
Prerequisite: EDU 6141 is to be taken concurrently with EDU 6340.
EDU 6142. Literacy Practicum 2
This course gives students opportunities to apply content from EDU 6363 (Advanced Literacy Development) and use materials and strategies discussed in EDU 6363 in their own school settings.
Prerequisite: EDU 6142 is to be taken concurrently with EDU 6363.
EDU 6311. Literacy Consultation
This course presents the most current understanding of literacy consultation and coaching. The purpose of this course is to prepare teachers and other specialists to provide professional consultation and coaching to their peers in order to support the reading development of all students in the school.
Prerequisites: EDU 6340 and EDU 6363. All literacy classes require field experiences in local schools.
EDU 6323. Literacy Assessment
This course presents the most current understanding of literacy development and assessment based on recent research. The course focuses on formal and informal literacy assessment procedures at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Emphasis is on gathering and interpreting assessment information for making instructional decisions.
Prerequisites: EDU 6340 and EDU 6363. All literacy classes require field experiences in local schools.
EDU 6340. Literacy Acquisition
This course presents the most current understanding of early reading acquisition based on recent research. The course focuses on learning experiences that students need to acquire fundamental reading skills, typically learned in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Specifically, the class focuses on the theory, research base, and application of specific procedures for designing and delivering reading and language arts instruction to students including those who have disabilities, or are dyslexic, second language learners, and/or advanced learners. Field experiences throughout the semester are required. All literacy classes require field experiences in local schools.
EDU 6363. Advanced Literacy Development
This course presents the most current understanding of advanced literacy development based on recent research.  The course focuses on learning experiences that students need to be successful in school and in later life.  Specifically, the course focuses on the theory, research base, and application of specific procedures for designing and delivering reading and language arts instruction to upper elementary and secondary students, including those who have disabilities, or are dyslexic, second-language learners and/or advanced learners. Field experiences throughout the semester are required.
Prerequisite: EDU 6340. All literacy classes require field experiences in local schools.

Courses for the SMU/Dallas Cohort

EDU 6101. Practicum Experience 
This course provides the opportunity for clinical teaching and therapy practices. Clinical teaching reports and therapy demonstrations are required. Each student is assigned an adviser to answer questions and provide support and guidance. 
EDU 6231. Early Language Development 
The course provides a continuation of instruction in introductory levels of the curriculum. Techniques and procedures previously introduced are refined and systems of record keeping and progress reporting are discussed. 
EDU 6330. Survey of Dyslexia and Related Learning Disabilities 
This course offers an introduction to language communication concepts and educational activities for teaching individuals with developmental dyslexia and related language learning difficulties. It also includes a study of the characteristic symptoms of dyslexia, implications of the disorder, diagnosis, and multisensory and discovery language remediation techniques. Practicum opportunities are included along with an introduction to curriculum level I. Reserved for students in the Masters of Education Reading and Writing Program. For Dallas Cohort Only. This is also a required course for all Learning Therapy students.
EDU 6331. Cognitive and Linguistic Structures of Written Language 
This course provides instruction in the teaching of curriculum level II. It focuses on cognitive and linguistic structures of written language and writing and phonetic concepts related to reading and spelling. It also examines the historical development of English and its relevance to language disabilities. 
EDU 6332. Advanced Cognitive and Linguistic Structures of Written Language, Part I 
This course offers an overview of advanced dyslexia instruction. It also introduces upper levels of the curriculum and begins instruction in the more complex aspects of the English written code. 

Courses for the Neuhaus/Houston Cohort

EDU 6342. Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders: Introductory Course 
This course is an introduction to the study of literacy instruction for students with dyslexia and related disorders. Specifically, the course focuses on the characteristics of dyslexia and related disorders, definitions, basic terminology, and research-based components of instruction. The course provides practical application of the theoretical underpinnings of reading development to inform instructional decisions for students with dyslexia and related disorders.
EDU 6343. Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders: Reading Comprehension 
This course provides teachers with evidenced-based practices teaching students with dyslexia and related disorders. Specifically, the course focuses on research-based vocabulary and reading comprehension instruction.
Prerequisite: EDU 6342/Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders Introductory Course
EDU 6344. Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders: Writing 
This course provides teachers with evidenced-based practices teaching students with dyslexia and related disorders. Specifically, the course focuses on research-based written expression instruction.
Prerequisites: EDU 6342/Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders: Introductory Course; EDU 6343/Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders: Reading Comprehension
EDU 6345 Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Disorders, Advanced Course 
This course is an advanced study of literacy instruction for students with dyslexia and related disorders. Specifically, the course focuses on the characteristics of dyslexia and related disorders, definitions, terminology, and research-based components of instruction. The course provides practical application of the theoretical underpinnings of reading development to inform instructional decisions for students with dyslexia and related disorders.





Professor

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...

Email:
jallor@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-1495
Office: Simmons Hall, Room 352



Professor

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...

Email:
salotaiba@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-1339
Office: Simmons Hall, Room 348



Clinical Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Caroline Ingle Kethley has taught in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU since 2005, serving first as Project Coordinator for the IERI/Scale Up Project and Principal Investigator on the Foundations of Fluency Technology Project. She was an instructor in the Dyslexia Therapist Training Program at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas before earning her Ph.D. in Special Education from The University of Texas at Austin in 2005. At The University of Texas, Dr. Kethley worked on a federally funded Model Demonstration Reading project at the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts. Learn more...

Email:
ckethley@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-3862
Office: Simmons Hall, Room 333



TI Endowed Chair of Evidence-Based Education and Professor

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Patricia G. Mathes, Ph.D. is an internationally respected reading researcher and teacher educator whose life mission is to ensure all children succeed in school. She holds the Texas Instruments Endowed Chair of Evidence-Based Education and is a Professor of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University’ Simmons School of Education. After graduating from Baylor in 1984, she entered the classroom where she taught middle and high school students with learning disabilities. While teaching, she earned her Master’s in Education at the University Houston in 1987. Learn more...

Email:
pmathes@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-2646
Office: Expressway Tower, Suite 1150



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...

Email:
kvickery@smu.edu
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...

Email:
bweiser@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-4641
Office: Expressway Tower, Suite 1150