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Master's Programs

Language and Literacy

Literacy is the foundation of all learning. A student who can read confidently, comprehend fully, and write clearly opens doors to worlds of discovery in science, math, literature, and history. Adults who struggle to read and write are locked out of better-paying jobs and hindered in their personal development. As a student in the Language and Literacy (L&L) Program, you will learn how to use research-based practices to positively impact the lives of learners of all ages. The core strength of the L&L Program is a comprehensive approach to literacy from the combined perspectives of research, policy, and practice; preparing you to be an “informed consumer” of research. You will learn what neuroscience can tell us about dyslexia; how to conduct an appropriate and accurate literacy assessment in diverse urban schools; and how to develop a literacy intervention plan that engages learners, K–12 in their own success.

Our program is grounded in the belief that language and literacy skills are essential to every aspect of an individual's life and that literate individuals contribute positively to our social, cultural, and economic well-being. 

Senior Lecturer Pamela A. Mason, faculty director

L&L is a year-long, full-time program that prepares you to become an effective change agent in the lives of young learners and adults. Here are some of the many advantages of studying language and literacy at HGSE:

  • Internships and Fieldwork – Fieldwork takes place in the Cambridge Public Schools, where you will learn from innovative programs in place for English language learners, bilingual students, and students identified with learning disabilities.
  • Cohort and Community – The members of your L&L cohort form a collaborative and supportive learning community. Expect to learn as much from their diverse experiences and perspectives as from the formal L&L curriculum. You will also make connections across the wider HGSE community that will broaden your understanding of education and strengthen your professional network.
  • Reading Lab – The Jeanne Chall Reading Lab is an invaluable resource for L&L students and the education community. The Reading Lab is stocked with children’s books and magazines, literacy assessments, and reference materials on the research and practice of literacy instruction. It’s also a wonderful space for collaborative group work and discussion.

Curriculum Information

L&L students can choose from three different program strands, each with its own admission and curricular requirements:

Reading Specialist Strand

This strand is more structured, designed to satisfy the requirements of licensure as a Reading Specialist Teacher in Massachusetts. In addition to coursework in reading development and reading difficulties, students complete a fieldwork practicum in an urban public school. Admission to the Reading Specialist strand requires an active Initial or Professional teaching license and a minimum of one full year of teaching experience.

View Requirements

Literacy Coach Strand

This strand is for students interested in providing professional development and literacy training to teachers as a school-based literacy coach. In addition to taking courses in adult and professional development, students have the opportunity to observe literacy coaches working in local schools. Admission to the Literacy Coach strand is reserved for applicants with at least three years of teaching experience.

View Requirements

You will complete eight courses (32 credits) in total. Four L&L core courses and four electives.

View all courses and information on cross-registration.

 

Program Faculty

L&L faculty members combine deep scholarly expertise with decades of professional experience to become powerful teachers and lifelong mentors for L&L students. The diverse research interests of L&L faculty include the language-based precursors to literacy, the cognitive consequences of bilingualism, the development of language expression and comprehension skills, and much more.

Alumni & Student Profiles

A master's degree in L&L is the ideal preparation for a rewarding education career that makes a positive impact in both the lives of students and the systems that serve them. L&L alumni assume literacy leadership roles in K–12 classrooms at home and internationally, with education nonprofits, research centers, hospitals, education publishing houses, state departments of education, ministries of education, educational technology startups, and much more.

Heather Miller

Prime-Time Parenting

Heather Miller, Ed.M.'00, helps parents navigate technology and chaos during school nights.

Jabari Sellars

Making the Case for Comics: Jabari Sellars, L&L'18

The Intellectual Contribution Award recipient for Language and Literacy reflects on his time at HGSE and looks toward the future.

Connect with Admissions

More information about our admissions application requirements and instructions, tuition and financial aid, and answers to frequently asked questions is available on our website. If you have additional admissions-related questions, please contact Ernald Furxhi or call 617.495.3414.

 

Connect with Program Staff

If you have remaining program-specific questions, reach out to L&L Program Administrator Andrena Mason.