“Our goal with this program is to provide teachers with the knowledge and the skills that they need, so they can make sure every student in their classroom is making progress."

– Dr. Jill Allor, Professor

Scholarship Opportunity: Become a more effective teacher and specialize in early literacy at SMU.

Through the generosity of a private donor and SMU, substantial scholarships are available for highly motivated K-5 classroom teachers in high need public schools. The priority application deadline for this program is March 1.  The final application deadline is June 15.

Our 18-credit hour literacy program provides professional development for K-5 classroom teachers in high need public schools (including charters) to meet the literacy needs of their students. Working with highly skilled reading research faculty, teachers will master the tools to provide comprehensive, coherent, and complete early literacy programs in the regular classroom using highly effective and evidence-based teaching methods.

Tuition cost is only $40 per credit hour. Apply now for this substantial scholarship. Parking fees and the cost of technology, textbooks, and supplies are the only additional SMU expenses.

Stephanie Al Otaiba, Ph.D. with students in elementary classroom

This program is designed specifically for general education early reading teachers (K-5) in high need public schools (including charters). As part of the application, each applicant will describe their students' needs, which in turn will determine qualification for financial support. Typically free and reduced lunch status is used to determine need, but a variety of factors will be considered (e.g. under-served populations, struggling readers, financial need). The program is highly competitive and applicants will be expected to express their commitment to this population and how they will apply the evidence-based practices taught in the program. 

18 Credit Hours of Coursework

  • Uniquely focused on early language and literacy acquisition designed to prepare teachers to prevent reading failure and to identify students who require more intensive and specialized support.
  • Courses include: Reading and Writing Methods, Assessment, Diverse Learners, and Literacy Practica.
  • The capstone course will be a leadership institute that involves not only SMU faculty, but other leaders in the field of literacy from across the country.
  • Training includes in-class instruction, supervised tutorial practica, and online learning.
  • Upon completion of this program, teachers will be prepared to help most children read on grade level; they will also be prepared to identify the small minority of students who need additional support to read on grade level.

If you are not currently teaching in a high need school, but interested in Early or Late Literacy Studies Specialization or Reading Specialist Preparation, please visit Literacy Studies.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the next cohort begin?
The next cohort will begin Fall term.

How long does the program take to complete?
The 18 hours of coursework is spread across two academic years and the summer in between.

How many courses would be required each semester?
Most semesters include one to two 3-hour courses. 

What is the schedule?
This is a hybrid program with both face-to-face classes held at SMU and online content. Face-to-face classes are in the evenings, approximately 7 times across the semester. The practicum will include application in your classroom as well as tutoring provided outside the school day. Some courses are conducted in the summer.

Can this program be completed without the commitment to a full M.Ed.?
Yes. Though the application is set up so you can automatically pursue the M.Ed. without additional paperwork, you are under no obligation to complete courses beyond the 18 hours. However, you will have completed half the coursework toward the Master of Education.

Do you have further questions?

Thank you for your interest in the Early Literacy Scholarship in the Teaching and Learning Department of SMU's Simmons School of Education and Human Development! Please fill out the form below. If you have any questions, please list them below and our office will be in touch soon.
Are you currently a Kindergarten to 5th Grade teacher?
Do you currently teach at a high needs school?