The online Science of Teaching Reading Certificate program at SMU Simmons provides educators and other stakeholders with the knowledge and evidence-base to effectively teach reading and writing to children and adults. These courses, for non-degree seeking students, will prepare individuals to use scientific theory, assessment, instruction and intervention to impact learning and advance literacy skills in individuals of all ages.

What is the Science of Reading?

Encompassing five decades of rigorous interdisciplinary and scientifically based research, the body of science, known as the Science of Reading, supports how the human brain learns to read. This body of reading science contains the preponderance of evidence that explains how individuals learn to read, the issues associated with reading development, how reading should best be taught, and how we assess literacy so that we can fill in gaps in understanding and provide effective instructional interventions and advancement.

How we at SMU Simmons can help

Reading is a right that every person should be afforded, and we are committed to supporting educators and stakeholders with the knowledge and ability to help change lives. Since the inception of the SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development 20 years ago, the faculty within the Department of Teaching and Learning have actively contributed to the evidence base and been committed to the goal of teaching the Science of Reading through research, outreach and importantly, through the programs offered and classes taught. Moreover, our focus has not only been on supporting both struggling and advanced students within general education, but also on providing evidence-based strategies and resources to teachers of students with disabilities, including those with ID and autism, as well as to teachers of English learners and those who work in adult education. The teaching of explicit and systematic, structured literacy principles, which “teachers can take to their classrooms and use tomorrow,” is appropriate for all and has long been our foundational tenet for changing practice and reading outcomes for every learner. We seek to promote this knowledge to a larger audience nationwide and provide learners with the agency to know that you too can not only impact reading outcomes, but also change lives.

Overview of Courses

The challenges of bringing research to practice have been a perennial and pervasive problem that our nation and many state legislatures have tried to remedy. This Fall Semester 2024, SMU Simmons will offer Early Literacy Acquisition I and Late Literacy Acquisition. Early Literacy Acquisition I will meet on seven(7) Tuesdays, approximately every other week, and focuses on children, birth to grade 4. Late Literacy Acquisition will meet on seven(7) Mondays and focuses on learners, grade 5 through adults. Students in the program can choose their focus depending upon their interest and/or experience.

Course Format

All courses are fully online. Much of the content will be presented in SMU’s Canvas Learning Management System in web-based online modules, which students will do independently. Each module will contain course content, including reading assignments, video/screencast viewing and interactions, responses, application activities, etc. Although online, to interact fully, we will meet “face-to-face” or synchronously on Zoom Teleconferencing every other week to discuss content and do activities. Engaging with and assimilating this online content will support your success in this course. Thank you for your interest in the SMU Science of Teaching Reading Program.

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Graduate Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Criminal history background check
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA from your undergraduate

Coursework: Fully Online

Early Literacy Classes include:

  • EDU 6323 Literacy Assessment
  • EDU 6364 Early Literacy Acquisition I
  • EDU 6367 Early Literacy Acquisition II (Early Lit I Pre-requisite)
  • EDU 6368 Evaluating and Teaching Writing

Late Literacy Classes include:

  • EDU 6323 Literacy Assessment
  • EDU 6363 Late Literacy Acquisition
  • EDU 6366 Reading and Writing in the Content Areas (Late Lit Pre-requisite)
  • EDU 6368 Evaluating and Teaching Writing

Learning Outcomes

Graduate students in this program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate deep knowledge of the research, theory, and content in the reading sciences and synthesize it in their teaching practice;
  • Use simple assessments to analyze where individuals are in their understanding of literacy and where any breakdowns might be occurring;
  • Determine instructional needs through an examination of the data gathered;
  • Provide explicit and systematic instruction or intervention learned in their coursework to advance literacy skills;
  • Evaluate the results of targeted instruction and make educational decisions based on data trends and observations;
  • Impact individuals’ ability to read and write.


The courses each cost $785 per credit hour, or approximately $2400 per class.

Do you have questions?


Further Questions

Contact: Diane Gifford -
or Karla del Rosal -