Literacy Education

Practicum Experience: Summer Reading & Writing Workshop

As a graduate student in our online Master’s of Education (MSEd) degree program, you’ll benefit from a practicum experience that you won’t find in any other Literacy Education program. Our culminating 4-week Summer Reading & Writing Workshop provides an opportunity for you to enhance and practice your literacy instruction skills.

You’ll work in-person or remotely with eager K-8 students who join us for an intensive reading and writing program aimed at improving their literacy skills. In addition to developing your instructional skillset, you’ll empower these learners by listening to their concerns, understanding their needs, and illuminating the challenges they face. 

Our graduate students have varying backgrounds and professional objectives. The practicum experience is tailored to meet your unique goals and career plans. 

The Summer Reading & Writing Workshop (Course title: EDU 639 Practicum in Literacy Education) includes both coursework and fieldwork. This is an intensive experience that requires a full-time commitment. It is not possible to take time off during the practicum.

  • Credits: 6
  • Timeframe: 4 weeks
  • Class time: 2 hours each week
  • Fieldwork time: 20-25 hours each week
  • Course assignments and fieldwork lesson plan time: 15-20 hours each week 

Practicum and Workshop Timeline

  • January: An email will go out to Literacy Education graduate students to determine which students would like to participate in the practicum.
  • January — February: We will be examining transcripts of the students on the interest list to see if they are eligible to participate in the practicum.
  • Third week of March: We will send out an email to students individually to either confirm or deny your eligibility. If eligibility is denied, we will explain why.
  • Last week of March: We will send out a notice to all those that are eligible explaining the next steps and how registration will work.
  • May — June: EDU 639 class meetings
  • July: Summer Reading and Writing Workshop begins: K-8 students’ first day.
  • August: Practicum class meetings and Summer Reading & Writing Workshop ends.


Please Note: Course and workshop dates are determined, in part, by public school schedules. We have tentative dates for the beginning of the course and workshop, however these dates may change once we know when public schools will be closing.

University faculty provide guidance and support throughout the practicum experience. In addition to instructing the course, faculty will:

  • Review your lesson plans
  • Meet with you and fellow graduate students each morning before the K-8 students arrive
  • Offer on-site support during each workshop day
  • Provide coaching for you and for the K-8 students

Before you begin the practicum, our faculty will work with you to set goals that are tailored to your career path. During the practicum you will:

  • Assess each K-8 student’s reading and writing strengths and challenges and set individual goals
  • Plan and provide daily reading and writing instruction with small groups
  • Support and motivate children to feel successful as readers and writers
  • Present and participate in professional development sessions
  • Work and learn with literacy coaches through observation, feedback, and one-on-one conferences
  • Practice coaching your colleagues in literacy instruction
  • Maintain an online portfolio of your work that supports the International Literacy Association’s
  • Professional Standards


What Our Alumni Say

"The University of Southern Maine (USM) practicum experience was so valuable to my teaching. Having a chance to try out different techniques alongside amazing coaches helped me grow as a literacy teacher. The course made me more reflective and purposeful in my conferring and student goal setting. It was also nice to work with students who are in grades that are out of my comfort zone."

— Chelsea Haffenreffer ’19, MSEd in Literacy Education 

"The practicum experience was beneficial because it prepared me, challenged me, and gave me confidence to pursue my goal of becoming a future literacy coach." 

— Kiely Treschitta ’20, MSEd in Literacy Education  

"This summer practicum is so much more than teaching summer school; it offers professional educators the opportunity to do some deep thinking about their practices and reflect on what will best allow all students to do the work necessary to promote their own learning."

— Kellie Hooper-Bressler ’17, MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Interested in signing up your K-8 student?

Review information for parents of K-8 students.