Literacy Education

Course Descriptions

The following are courses typically found in the Literacy, Language, and Culture programs. For a complete list of courses visit the School of Education and Human Development Course Listing page at: https://usm.maine.edu/school-of-education-human-development

EDU 222 Foundations of Language and Literacy Development
This course is designed to examine theories and processes related to language and literacy development, and the implications of these theories and processes for curriculum and instruction, grades preK-12.  The course includes a 24-hour school-based field experience. Prerequisite: HRD 200 and matriculated in a teacher education pathway, or department permission. Cr 3.

EDU 305 Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
This course supports students in exploring and critically analyzing topics, themes, and issues related to cultural and linguistic diversity and helps them build a strong theoretical and practical foundation for becoming successful multicultural educators. 12 hours of fieldwork will be required. Prerequisite: HRD 200: Multicultural Human Development. Cr 3.

EDU 336 Children's Literature
This course is a survey of children's literature with special emphasis on the selection of appropriate books for children from preschool through the elementary school years. Cr 3.

EDU 414 Improving Teaching in the Content Areas through Literacy for all Students Including Those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
This content area literacy course focuses on helping students develop strategies for strategic, independent learning.  All students, including those with diverse abilities and culturally diverse backgrounds, will come to understand that learning is an active, constructive process.  Therefore, teachers of all subjects and grade levels will demonstrate knowledge and application of sound reading and writing strategies to enhance learning in the classroom. These strategies will create readiness for learning, use reading and writing to promote content understanding, and provide a means for assessing what has been learned.  Major emphasis is given to comprehension instruction, vocabulary acquisition, and metacognition. Prerequisites: Matriculated into a teacher education pathway or department permission. Cr 3.

EDU 512: Teaching Literature in Grades K-12
In this course, educators will examine the role of literature in literacy learning. Emphasis will be on the promotion of wide reading in a variety of genres and attending to the appropriate selection of literature to meet reading interests, needs, and abilities of students K-12. In addition to examining criteria for evaluating and selecting materials, participants will consider curriculum implications and learn creative strategies for teaching children's and adolescent literature and enhancing reading for all students. Participants will have the opportunity to develop projects and investigate areas of interest to fulfill their professional needs. 3 Cr.

EDU 514 Improving Teaching in Content Areas through Literacy for All Students Including Those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
This content area literacy course focuses on helping students develop strategies for strategic, independent learning.  All students, including those with diverse abilities and culturally diverse backgrounds, will come to understand that learning is an active, constructive process.  Therefore, teachers of all subjects and grade levels will demonstrate knowledge and application of sound reading and writing strategies to enhance learning in the classroom.  These strategies will create readiness for learning, use reading and writing to promote content understanding, and provide a means for assessing what has been learned.  Major emphasis is given to comprehension instruction, vocabulary acquisition, and metacognition. Cr. 3.

EDU 521 Digital Literacies and Education
In this course, students explore the use of technology in K-12 education with a focus on literacy in the 21st century. Learners gain insight and experience in the effective integration of technology in literacy education through experiential learning, discussion, readings, and design of lessons and activities. Students examine related educational and societal issues through both academic and mainstream lenses in the context of relevant standards. Cr 3.

EDU 522 Foundations of Language and Literacy Development
This course is designed to examine theories and processes related to language and literacy development, and the implications of these theories and processes for  curriculum and instruction, grades preK-12.  The course includes practicum assignments to be completed during internship. Prerequisite: Matriculated into teacher education pathway or program approval. Cr 3.

EDU 525: Invitational Summer Writing Institute
This course is an introduction to the principles and practices of the Southern Maine and National Writing Projects.  Fellows (i.e., those enrolled as students in the course) will explore and reflect upon the craft of writing through reading and discussion, and will learn effective practices for the teaching of writing.  In addition, Fellows will produce portfolios of their writing, participate in writing groups, demonstrate writing strategies through various activities, and develop a philosophy on the teaching of writing. Prerequisite: by permission of the instructor. Cr 3.

EDU 526: Invitational Fall Writing Institute
This course builds on the principles and practices of the Southern Maine and National Writing Projects introduced in EDU 525, Invitational Summer Writing Institute.  Fellows (i.e., those enrolled as students in the course) will further explore and reflect upon the craft of writing through reading and discussion, and continue to learn effective practices for the teaching of writing.  In addition, Fellows will complete portfolios of their writing, participate in writing groups, demonstrate writing strategies through various activities, and develop a philosophy on the teaching of writing. Lastly, Fellows will engage in reflection and/or research to develop their teaching practice and to share their learning with others. Prerequisite: EDU 525. Cr 3.

EDU 557 Teaching Writing to Multilingual Learners
This course focuses on developing and improving writing skills for English language learners (ELLs), by examining second language acquisition and writing theories and how they inform classroom practice. It is designed to equip teachers with the dispositions, knowledge, skills and strategies to implement writing instruction for ELLs at all levels of proficiency. Students gain firsthand experience using the writing process. They will draw on current research, theory, and classroom practice, leading to the development of instructional programs that will meet the needs of their ELLs. Cr 3.

EDU 558 Content-Based Curriculum for English Language Learners
This course focuses on the factors necessary for the development and implementation of relevant content learning for second language students of all age and proficiency levels in the public school setting. The course explores the theoretical background and models of strategies for insuring competent delivery of appropriate language and content in a multilingual context. A co-construction approach incorporating the backgrounds and experiences of course participants is the principal methodological approach. The framework of the course is a pedagogical focus that incorporates scaffolding, differentiated instruction, independent learning strategies, critical thinking, and assessment. Cr 3.

EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners
This course examines the role of literacy in the K-12 and adult classroom for linguistically and culturally diverse learners in local and global contexts. A critical analysis of the developmental nature of the reading process as it applies to young learners, as well as application to older learners with varying degrees of first language literacy, is a major emphasis. An examination of first language and cultural and linguistic diversity influences on reading in a second language and multiliteracies in the light of current applied linguistics research is also a major emphasis. Cr 3.

EDU 561 Aspects of the English Language
This is a practical course for the prospective or continuing ESL teacher which will examine the various linguistic elements of the English language and their relevance to the teaching process of English as a Second or Other Language. We will be focusing on analyzing the grammatical and phonological aspects of the English language as well as looking at morphology and lexis, semantics, and such social aspects of the language as register and speech variation. Primary emphasis will be placed on a better understanding of English through class discussion, oral presentations, and practical application for teaching in the ESL classroom. Cr 3.

EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
This course examines the nature of language and cultural differences among learners of various ethnic and racial backgrounds. The exploration of diversity provides opportunities for participants to develop a personal awareness of the role of cultural conditioning in classroom encounters; to reflect on and to confront personal biases as they relate to teaching; to acquire the skills and resources for an ethno-relative approach to delivering instruction; and to make language- and topic-related choices compatible with learner differences. Cr 3.

EDU 563 ESL Testing and Assessment
The focus of this course is on learner-centered approaches to constructive evaluation of language and content. Emphasis is predominantly on authentic, performance-based assessment practices but also include the role of criterion-and norm-based formal testing procedures within a holistic evaluation framework. Comprehensive evaluation of language involves the whole learner, including an integrated approach incorporating socio-cultural, academic, and cognitive perspectives. Also included is an understanding of biases influencing formalized second language testing. Cr 3.

EDU 565 Teaching Reading for all Students in Grades K-8, Including Those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
In this course students will learn to use evidence-based instruction to teach reading in grades K-8. Students will examine theories and current research on reading development and process in order to effectively instruct and assess all readers, including students with special needs and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Students will learn how to implement multiple strategies to support reading development and promote children’s proficiency in state standards. Additionally, digital literacies, reading across the curriculum, and ways to engage and motivate readers will be emphasized. Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy (must be concurrently enrolled in a student teaching internship), or LLC Department approval. Cr 3.

EDU 566 Teaching Writing for All Students Including Those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
In this course students will learn to use evidence-based instruction to teach writing for all students. Students will examine theories and current research on writing development and process in order to effectively instruct and assess all writers, including students with special needs and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Students will learn how to implement multiple writing strategies across various genres to support writing development and promote children’s proficiency in state standards. Additionally, students will explore the use of technology and participate in writing sessions to develop as writers and teachers of writing. Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy (must be concurrently enrolled in a student teaching internship), or LLC Department approval. Cr 3.

EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
This course studies the concepts, principles, and techniques of educational research with an emphasis on scientific inquiry and problem solving, designed for both the producer and consumer of educational research. Individual critiques and research reviews are completed. Prerequisite: open to matriculated students only. Cr 3.

EDU 607 Teacher Research in Literacy
One type of research that now largely informs our knowledge of literacy learning and instruction is ethnographic in nature. More and more of it is the work of teacher researchers. The purpose of this course is to enable students to become generators of new contextualized knowledge through their own classroom-based research and inquiry. Students will be introduced to major research paradigms and will learn and practice techniques of data collection and analysis. Naturalistic methods of studying literacy learning in real classroom contexts will be emphasized. During the course of the semester each student will generate a research question, design an action research study or piece of naturalistic inquiry that will help answer the question, collect and analyze sample data, and summarize findings or revisions necessary to improve the study. The class will function as a community of researchers; a substantial portion of class time will be spent working in small groups. Prerequisites: EDU 565, EDU 620, or EDU 559 and EDU 566, EDU 626 or EDU 557 and open to matriculated students in the MSEd. in Literacy or TESOL, or by program permission. Cr 3.

EDU 620 Reading Development and Instruction
Becoming a skilled reader is a developmental process. Although literacy acquisition is continuous, distinct stages of reading growth may be discerned as students become accomplished readers. The course provides a theoretical framework for sound instructional practices based on a cognitive, developmental perspective. Major emphasis is on using literature-based instruction. Current issues in the teaching of reading will be examined and the application of literacy practices to ESL, adult basic education, and special needs populations will be addressed. Suggested readings represent current research and practice. In addition to the texts, students are expected to read professional books and journal articles, synthesize information from readings, and generate implications for literacy instruction. Case studies and simulation exercises will be used to provide practical applications of the course content. This course is intended for classroom teachers, administrators, and other educators. Cr 3.

EDU 621 Literacy Problems: Assessment and Instruction
This course conceptualizes reading assessment as a process of becoming informed about learners. The course focuses on the development of diagnostic insights and corrective strategies for struggling readers of all ages. Current trends from research and practice are explored. Case studies and in-class practica help teachers implement effective procedures in the classroom. Cr 3.

EDU 623 TESOL Practicum
The practicum in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is designed to accommodate students in the TESOL program who are ESL teachers, mainstream teachers working on getting ESL-endorsed by the state, international students, and adult educators. In this course, students acquire practical ESL/EFL teaching experience in the field while applying knowledge gained through coursework and research. The course is aligned with the TESOL standards. Prerequisite: Matriculated students who have completed 24 credit hours of program course work. Cr 3.

EDU 626 The Writing Process
This course focuses on the study of writing development in children and how teachers can facilitate writing through a process approach. Many writing strategies for the classroom and the individual writer will be modeled and put into practice. In addition, students will investigate specific areas of interest to improve their own writing and writing instruction. Through participation in writing lessons and workshops, students will develop their own pieces of writing, examine the needs of diverse learners, design instruction for varying developmental stages of writers, explore the use of technology, and understand the implications of national, state, and local standards. This course is intended for classroom teachers, administrators, and other educators. Cr 3.

EDU 633 Special Applications in Literacy
Independent study opportunities to apply course experiences in field-based situations are encouraged. Considerable latitude is possible in pursuing options of professional interest with approval of an advisor. Examples of activities include: writing project (meeting standards of professional journals), intensive clinical experiences, educational consultation and research. Independent options must be approved in writing by the program coordinator. Cr 1-6.

EDU 634 Seminar in Literacy Research
The course provides a cultural-historical lens to literacy and reviews current research trends in literacy theory and practice. Students will review and analyze contemporary research. This course is intended to be the last class in the literacy education master's sequence (except EDU 639); CAS students may request permission to enroll. Prerequisites: By program permission. Cr 3.

EDU 635 Seminar in Second Language Literacy
This course integrates the knowledge base acquired in core ESL courses by focusing on the characteristics of a fluent second language reader and writer. There will be an analysis of first language reading models and their relevance to literacy acquisition in English as a second language. The impact of variables such as native language proficiency, perception, lexical knowledge, cognition, metacognition, and culture will be examined. This course is intended to be the last class in the TESOL master's sequence (except EDU 623); CAS students may request permission to enroll. Prerequisites: By program permission. Cr 3.

EDU 637: Contemporary Approaches to Literacy Leadership
This course will examine contemporary approaches to school-wide literacy and build capacity for teachers and school leaders to carry out the school’s literacy mission. It will offer direction and support to those charged with organizing and delivering effective literacy instruction to K-12 students, as well as adult education students. Topics will include the roles of literacy specialists, literacy coaches, and literacy interventionists; methods for working with struggling readers and writers and their teachers; strategies for assessment and analysis of data; theories of adult learning and development; strategies for leading professional development, peer coaching, and collegial support; ways to involve families and the community in literacy; and the changing design of our schools to best meet the needs of all students through culturally responsive leadership. Practicing teachers, literacy interventionists and specialists, school leaders, and adult educators are encouraged to enroll. Cr. 3

EDU 639 Practicum in Literacy Education
The Practicum in Literacy Education is designed to be an intense capstone experience that prepares candidates for endorsement as a literacy specialist. According to the International Literacy Association, literacy specialists are responsible for 1) developing, leading, or evaluating the school or district pre-K–12 reading and writing program, 2) supporting teacher learning, and 3) working with students who struggle with reading.  The practicum is intended to model an effective literacy program where graduate students assume these responsibilities and are expected to meet the competencies set forth by the International Literacy Association. Prerequisite:  21 credits in literacy coursework including the following literacy content courses: EDU 565 or EDU 620, and EDU 566 or EDU 626, and EDU 511 or EDU 513, and EDU 514, and EDU 621, and permission of the instructor. Cr 6.

EDU 640 Professional Internship in English as a Second LanguageThis internship is a full-time, supervised clinical experience in applying knowledge and skills to the practice of teaching. An intern completes a classroom placement in which she/he works cooperatively with a mentor teacher and a University supervisor in addressing the USM teaching standards. The culminating event is a lead teaching experience during which the intern had primary responsibility for guiding the instructional program for students who have been part of the internship. Prerequisite: Open to matriculated candidates in certification programs. Cr 3.

EDU 665 CAS Directed Study
This course provides CAS students with an opportunity to focus on long-term applied research projects near the beginning of their programs of study, rather than wait until they have completed their regular CAS coursework. Some students enter the program having embarked upon long-term projects that will positively impact their schools or school systems. This capstone option gives them the opportunity to combine work on those projects at the same time that they take other graduate courses in their individual CAS programs. This project will be carried out through the program, but the culminating synthesis should take place in the last academic year of the program. Cr 3-6.

EDU 699 Independent Study
This course provides an opportunity for students to pursue a topic of interest on an independent basis. The specific content and evaluation procedures are arranged with an instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of supervising instructor and the department chair. Cr var.