College of Education > Academics > Counseling & Special Education > Licensure & Endorsements > Reading Teacher Endorsement

Reading Teacher Endorsement

Reading teachers have a deep understanding of how diverse students learn to read. They understand the characteristics of proficient readers and the nature of reading difficulties. They understand the structure of language and the close relationships of oral and written language. They are experts in the practical skills of literacy instruction and understand the role of assessment in promoting reading and writing skills in diverse students.

The Reading Teacher endorsement program is designed for licensed teachers who wish to gain expertise in literacy instruction and provide advanced reading instruction in their school. This unique program offers a powerful blend of two fields—reading instruction and special education—to prepare educators to address the needs of struggling readers and those with learning disabilities.

Courses in the Reading Teacher endorsement program are a subset of courses in the Reading Specialist program. Students who complete the program have the option to continue coursework to qualify as a Reading Specialist and earn a full master’s degree.

Are you interested in enrolling in this program? View its admission requirements and application instructions here or contact the College of Education’s Office of Graduate Admission at (773) 325-4405.


The Reading Teacher Endorsement program leads to a Reading Teacher endorsement from the Illinois State Board of Education, which educators can add to their Illinois teaching license (PEL).

Program Format

To accommodate working professionals, the Reading Teacher program offers courses that meet on weekday evenings. Other course delivery options within the program include hybrid courses (a blend of on-campus and online classes) and fully online courses. In addition, you may choose your pace through this program, selecting a a full-time course load (two courses per quarter) to complete the program in two years or a part-time course load (one course per quarter) to complete the program in three years.

Program Requirements

Candidates may choose to complete the Reading Teacher endorsement through one of two avenues. They can complete the full Reading Teacher program, which includes nine courses (36 quarter hours) in Literacy and Special Education. Alternately, a candidate may submit his/her prior transcripts (undergraduate and graduate-level coursework) to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for evaluation. A deficiency statement will be created by ISBE, at which time the candidate can complete only the remaining ISBE-required coursework to qualify for the endorsement (typically four to seven courses or 16-28 credit hours.)

The program includes a practicum requirement, which provides students with clinical experience working in DePaul’s Education and Counseling Center (ECC). The ECC offers academic tutoring services for children and adolescents with reading and learning difficulties; it is located on the Lincoln Park Campus.

This program is typically eligible for financial aid. Please see this document and consult your advisor in the COE.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) requirements for the Reading Teacher Endorsement include:

  1. Hold a valid 0-3, K-9, or 6-12 teaching license
  2. Complete 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours, including a practicum, of reading and literacy courses in the following areas: 
    a)   Foundations of reading,
    b)   Content area reading,
    c)   Assessment and diagnosis of reading problems,
    d)   Developmental and remedial reading instruction and support,
    e)   Developmental and remedial materials and resources, and
    f)    Literature appropriate to students across all grade ranges
  3. Pass the Reading Teacher content test (#177) 

Students can pursue the Reading Teacher Endorsement by either:

  1. Completing courses that are a subset of the Reading Specialist program (see below), or  
  2. Applying for a Reading Teacher endorsement evaluation through ISBE.  Once a statement of area deficiencies is received, the student will meet with an advisor to determine the required outstanding coursework.  

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for the Reading Teacher endorsement only program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a valid Illinois teaching license.

To apply, please submit the following materials to the Office of Graduate Admission:

  • A completed graduate application
  • Application fee ($40.00)
  • Copy of a valid Illinois professional teaching license
  • A bachelor’s degree conferred by an accredited, recognized institution
  • Two letters of reference, one of which must be from persons familiar with your academic work
  • One official transcript from each college or university attended
  • Resume or curriculum vitae showing evidence of adequate background for the program. 

The admission process also may include an interview with program faculty. 

Course Requirements

Reading Teacher Endorsement Coursework : 36 quarter hours required, grade of C or better required 

Practicum Courses 

The practicum courses provide an opportunity to apply knowledge from course work to teaching struggling learners and those with disabilities.  In these courses, students provide diagnostic and remedial services to children and adolescents from the Chicago area under the supervision of program faculty. These courses are offered in an on-campus facility.

Content displayed from DePaul University catalog.

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