Registration Tips

An easy way to browse or check courses is to use Quick Links found on the top of the TC home page.  Scroll down near the bottom of the list (lots of other helpful info here as well) to Schedule of Classes.  Then you’ll be able to use the advanced search and fill in semester, department, more if you want and find a list of classes.  Always check the information detailed there, special notes, course fees, etc.

Remember the computer automatically registers you for the minimum credits for which the course is offered.  You’ll need to change credit hours for many classes.  For example, C&T 4200 is offered for 0-6 credits, so you will initially be registered for 0 credits.  State certification requires 3 credits for this course each semester, so be sure to adjust it.  C&T 4502 should be 1 credit in fall.  Other program courses can be taken for 2 or 3 credits to offer flexibility with your total of 32, but most of these will be taken for 3 credits in fall.  Out of program selectives can be taken for 2 or 3; choose 2 if possible.  See the coursework planning sheet for confirmation.  Credit numbers can be adjusted a few weeks into the semester.

Our program courses require approval from an advisor (even section changes), but most out of program selectives do not and must be given directly by the course instructor if they do.


Course Descriptions

C&T 4138 Teaching literacy in the early years (2-3)

Maria Paula Ghiso, Ellen Ellis

This course examines theory, research, and practice of literacy learning and teaching in the early years. The course emphasizes early literacy development, assessment-based literacy instruction, the sources of support and difficulty provided by books and other texts, methods of teaching early literacy (including reading conferences, read alouds, guided reading, shared reading, interactive writing, phonics, and critical literacies), and approaches to assessing and teaching decoding, spelling, fluency, text use, and comprehension.

C&T 4139 Constructing critical readers (2-3)

Lucy Calkins, Chantal Francois, Mia Hood

Pre-requisite: C&T 4151, C&T 4858, or C&T 5800

This course examines theory, research, and practice on teaching reading comprehension in intermediate classrooms. Students will study curriculum design, assessment practices, and teaching methods and materials. The course emphasizes curricular structures and strategies for teaching comprehension, grades 2-8.

C&T 4140 Literature for younger children (2-3)

Maria Paula Ghiso, Ellen Ellis

This course helps teachers develop a deep knowledge of PK-grade 2 literature.  Course participants will come to understand the sources of difficulty and support that particular books provide learners, and ways in which informed instructors can use books as co-teachers.  Participants will study how particular texts can provide special supports for certain reading behavior.  They will study texts that teachers might use for reading aloud, shared reading, thematic studies, and independent reading.  Course participants will learn about various genres of literature for young children with emphasis upon criteria for selecting and interpreting quality material.  This course will also engage students in exploring critical literacy.


C&T 4141 Literature for older children (2-3)

Maria Paula Ghiso

This course aims to help participants come to know the series books, mysteries, historical fiction, fantasy, and realistic fiction that commonly fill the shelves of 2nd-5th grade classrooms.  Students will consider children’s developmental issues, theories of reading, and emphasis on literary qualities—such as genre, author’s style, theme, and character—to create meaningful, literature-based curricula. Additionally, while exploring this literature, students will consciously develop their own reading skills, including inference, interpretation, critical reading, and envisionment, learning from the inside about the skills of powerful reading.

C&T 4151 Teaching of writing (2-3)

Ellen Ellis, Chantal Francois

This course integrates theory and practice for teachers. Topics include writing development, reading-writing connections, and classroom methods for teaching the writing process in elementary classrooms.


C&T 5520 Advanced Teaching of Writing (2-3)

Lucy Calkins

Pre-requisite: C&T 4151 or C&T 5800

This is an advanced course for teachers who want to become especially proficient at teaching writing. The emphasis in this course will be on developing your methods of teaching writing so that you are skilled at conferring, assessing, teaching minilessons, making reading writing connections, and designing curriculum.


C&T 4200 Fieldwork in curriculum and teaching (3, both fall and spring semesters required)


Fieldwork is the course in which students approach reflective practices.  This course must be taken in conjunction with a deep involvement in schools.  Fulltime students are placed with master literacy educators and engage in consistent work in a school setting.  Fieldwork sections are differentiated depending on the level of teaching experience as well as the semester.

Students develop their skills by learning the array of methods that literacy teachers use, addressing particular classroom challenges, and researching classroom students and their practices.  Coursework also positions the student as a literacy leader, addressing staff development and literacy coaching.  Students focus on developing an inquiry stance within their own classrooms and schools as teacher-researchers.

C&T 4502 Master’s project (1)

Chantal Francois, Mia Hood

This course supports students in developing proposals to initiate the required Master’s action research project. The course is structured to encourage guided inquiry and reflection on a topic that emerges from one of the core courses of study, with an emphasis on the cyclical process of observations, reflection, and instruction. Participants will engage in professional readings and related studying which informs work in classrooms and then leads to new questions and to more research, including more reading and related study.   Inquiry will be based on students’ fieldwork and own teaching experiences. The course will meet over the course of the fall semester, then students will embark on their independent projects during the spring semester.

C&T 5037 Literacy, culture and the teaching of reading (2-3)

Maria Paula Ghiso, Jodene Morrell, Sarah Schlessinger

This course examines current practices of reading instruction in light of theory and research on literacy as a social, cultural and political practice. The emphasis is on intersections of class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality as critical axes for understanding culturally-specific language and literacy practices, and as a basis for re-imagining reading instruction rooted in the experiences of students.
Within Program Selectives


C&T 4842 Institute: Content Area Literacies (3)

Marjorie Siegel

This course will introduce students to a toolkit of theories and practices to aid them in rethinking and redesigning literacy practices used in teaching mathematics, science, social studies, and other content areas.

C&T 4858 Institute: Teaching of reading (3)

Lucy Calkins and Staff of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Over a thousand educators from across the world travel to Teachers College every summer to participate in this institute, designed to lift the level of reading instruction across whole schools.  Each day begins with a keynote address by a leader in the field; recent speakers include Kylene Beers, Dick Allington, Harvey Daniels and Ellin Keene. Then there are sections that are differentiated by grade level and prior experience at the institute, with advanced sections on topics as diverse as Supporting English Language Learners, Teaching Nonfiction Comprehension Strategies, etc

C&T 5800 Institute: Teaching of writing (1, 3, or 6)

Lucy Calkins and Staff of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

A thousand teachers from across the world convene each summer at Teachers College to attend the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Institute on the Teaching of Writing. The institute helps teachers lead effective writing workshops, teaching K-8 students to draft, revise and edit their own writing. Each day begins with a keynote address. Recent speakers include Carl Anderson, Patricia MacLachlan, Billy Collins, Georgia Heard, and Eloise Greenfield. Literacy Specialist students generally attend advanced sections.

A few notes about fieldwork…

Members of the Literacy Specialist Program learn not only from university courses but also from field experiences, and above all from the intersection of those two. Course work becomes vastly more complex and interesting when it is brought to bear on the very real challenges in classrooms. Every student in the Literacy Specialist Program is expected to work in a classroom or two as a teacher-researcher and reflective practitioner.

If a student is a fulltime teacher already, then that teacher’s fieldwork experience involves first, bringing a reflective lens to your own teaching and second, expanding your role as a teacher to include leading intensive small group work with students at a grade level other than your own. That is, if you are a fulltime fourth grade teacher, you’ll be asked to put all that you learn in TC courses into motion within your own classroom, and to become even more reflective as a teacher. You’ll participate in a seminar with other fulltime teachers who are also using their classrooms as learning labs, and together you’ll look at data and learn to explore the links between theory and practice. You will also be asked to lead small group work for at least three times a week, 30 minutes a time, with kindergarten, first or second graders (the degree requires that you work in both primary and upper elementary grades at some point within the program.)

If you are not a fulltime teacher, then you will have the opportunity to apprentice with an extraordinary teacher of literacy, working with that teacher four mornings a week for most of the semester. We place fieldwork interns in schools that are model sites for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Your placement will allow you to not only learn from children and a mentor teacher, but to also participate in staff development, to be part of school-based study groups, and the like. Again, you’ll be asked to spend half an hour a day, four days a week, working with a small group of children at a grade level which is very different than your placement.

Fieldwork students who apprentice in the classroom of another teacher also participate in a TC seminar to support this experience, and again, this seminar is tailored for students who are participating in an experience similar to yours. You’ll also have the chance to receive one-to-one coaching from a supervisor who will travel to your field placement in order to provide on-the-ground coaching. Your supervisor will observe and coach you at least three times across the semester.

If you already have teaching experience, for your second semester you may decide that you’d prefer your placement to be with a Teachers College Reading and Writing Project staff developer or with a literacy coach in a school. Most students, however, want their second semester to be similar to their first. Generally, faculty members try to place you in two schools that are quite different from each other, with at least one of those placements allowing you the opportunity to work with high-need students.

We’re convinced that the fieldwork is one of the most special aspects of the Literacy Specialist program.

Good news about HBSK 4072!

We have just been notified that one section of HBSK 4072, Theory and Techniques of Reading Assessment and Intervention, will be offered in Spring 2010.  The course will meet on Mondays from 5:10-6:50.  This is a required course for our program and is typically offered only in fall.  All four sections for 2009 are already filled, so we are grateful to the Department of Health and Behavior Studies for this addition.

Course Requirements

The Literacy Specialist Masters degree is 32 points, or credits.  The following courses are required:

C&T 4138  Literacy in the Early Years

C&T 4139  Constructing Critical Readers

C&T 4151 Teaching of Writing

C&T 4140 Literature for Younger Children OR C&T 4141 Literature for Older Children

C&T 5037 Literacy, Culture, and the Teaching of Reading

HBSK 4072 Theory/Techniques of Reading Assessment and Intervention

C&T 4200 Fall Fieldwork

C&T 4200 Spring Fieldwork

C&T 4502 Masters Action Research Project

in-department selectives (4-6 credits)

out-of-department selectives (4-6 credits)