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Reading Education

The Curry School of Education offers the M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees (post-graduate professional) in reading instruction and two doctoral-level degrees, the Ed.D. and the Ph.D.  In addition, two certificate programs are available-- the Reading Specialist certificate (face-to-face or hybrid) and Adolescent Literacy certificate (online or hybrid).  The M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees and Adolescent Literacy certificate can be taken in Charlottesville, online or at our regional centers (Northern Va., Richmond, or Newport News).  The Reading Specialist certificate is a hybrid program, available through regional centers and in Charlottesville.  Doctoral degrees are available in Charlottesville. 

Graduates of the reading program area at the University of Virginia teach children in elementary and secondary classrooms, coach colleagues in exemplary schools, train future teachers in colleges and universities, and conduct research.

The reading program at the University of Virginia is nationally recognized for both research and practice. 

Below is a video from Marcia Invernizzi, Ph.D. on “Effective Teaching Strategies: Developing Site Word Vocabulary”. Feel free to watch.

My experience at the Curry School was empowering.  It was my first educational experience that provided theory that linked directly to practice. Every class equipped me with evidence-based knowledge and tools that I could immediately see the benefit of for my students.  The level of expertise of the professors was both impressive and inspiring, and their personal attention to me as an individual created a very supportive environment. I left UVa confident in my ability to be an effective and knowledgeable educator.

Elizabeth Auguste, Reading Education M.Ed. Alumni, M.Ed. Reading Education

More Information

Program Overview

The reading program at the University of Virginia is nationally recognized for both research and practice.  It is the home of the McGuffey Reading Center, in operation since 1946, which serves students and parents who seek guidance regarding reading instruction and the diagnosis of reading disabilities.  PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening), begun in Virginia in 1997 and used as the literacy screening instrument, PreK-8, in the majority of districts in Virginia and many states, is a research and service center of the reading program; in addition, PALS Espanole takes the literacy screening to L2 students in Virginia and other states. The reading outreach program (Reading@Curry) takes reading courses to practicing teachers through our regional centers and our state-of-the-art online courses.  Reading outreach has been a pioneer in distance education since 1985 (known then as TEMPO Reading Outreach), first using satellites to transmit live and interactive classes to distant sites. Today, the technology has changed to much easier-to-use online learning management systems. Reading@Curry has offered online graduate courses to teachers since the spring of 2000.

Cycle of Online Reading Courses

Affiliated Research and Programs

  • The Virginia Spelling Studies line of research produced what today is recognized as the leading theory regarding students’ development of orthographic knowledge and the Word Study method of instruction. 
  • The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening Assessment (PALS) originated here and is used in all 50 states and several foreign countries as a means of benchmarking young children’s development as readers. In recent years, PALS has developed PALS Españole and has extended the PALS assessment tool to grades 4-8.   
  • A literacy coaching model, implemented nationally as an effective means of improving the quality of reading instruction, is a current research area of the program. 
  • The Central Virginia Writing Project (a National Writing Project site) provides professional development to teachers in our region of the state.  The CVWP trains teacher leaders who support writing instruction in their home schools and help their colleagues and students use writing as a tool for learning.

George Graham Lecture in Reading.  The reading program area at the University has sponsored a national level reading conference since 1985.  Featuring keynote speakers who are outstanding researchers in the field of reading, the lecture makes it possible for local students and educators to reach well beyond the university to interact with research.  Past speakers have included Frank Vellutino, Charles Read, Marie Clay, Jeanne Chall, Benita Blachman, Shirley Brice Heath, Richard Allington, Peter Johnston, Steve Graham, and many others.

McGuffey Reading Center.  McGuffey is one of the oldest operating University reading centers in the country. It operates diagnostic and teaching clinics staffed by graduate students and supervised by resident faculty.


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP); fully accredited in 2014-15
Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) as an approved program for preparation of K12 reading specialists

International Reading Association (IRA)

Accreditation Details

The Curry graduate reading program area prepares teachers to be better classroom teachers of reading, to apply for the K12 reading specialist endorsement to be added to their teaching licenses, and to become  literacy leaders and/or coaches in school districts and community colleges.  Our graduates understand best practices in applying literacy content, practice and research to students with diverse backgrounds and diverse needs.  They are experts in using data and informed reading specialist judgment in instructional decision-making to assure that students in their practice become competent readers and writers. The reading program area is awarded TEAC accreditation by the Inquiry Brief Commission of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) for a period of seven years, from April 2015 and April 2022. 
The Virginia Department of Education ( lists the University of Virginia as an approved reading specialist preparation program.

Quick Data Snapshot (Class of 2015)

Average incoming GPA (all degrees): 3.820 (required 3.0)
Average GRE Verbal score: 157 (recommended 150)
Average GRE Math score: 148 (recommended 145)
Average GRE Writing score: 4.2 (recommended 4.0)

Average RVE (exit) score: 187 (pass: 165)

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