What is a reading endorsement?

In Ohio, a reading endorsement is a certification teachers can earn to enhance their classroom lessons, improve job prospects and increase compensation. What is a reading endorsement? Simply put, it’s a great way for teachers to expand their horizons in the field of education!

When you are a classroom teacher—elementary, middle school or high school—you’re going to have students who are not be able to read or read at their grade level,” said Dr. Amy Mullins, director of graduate programs in education and assistant professor of education at Bluffton University. “A reading endorsement provides strategies to help struggling readers develop and succeed.”

What do I need for a reading endorsement?

This endorsement provides additional education and tools for teachers to become specialists in reading. In Ohio, teachers who seek to obtain a reading endorsement must hold a current teaching license, successfully complete an approved educational program and pass the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) for Reading.

Reading endorsement programs consist of graduate-level courses. Some colleges allow teachers to include reading endorsement classes as part of their overall coursework toward a graduate degree in education. 

Why should I get the reading endorsement?

A reading endorsement provides more opportunities in the field of education. Teachers may continue in their current position, with a new set of resources to improve literacy in their classroom, or may pursue other positions including Title 1 teacher or reading coach.

  • Title 1 teachers help students better understand core subject areas such as reading or math. These teachers typically pull students out of their main classrooms and work with them one-on-one or in small groups.
  • Reading coaches typically interact with fellow teachers rather than students. They collaborate with coworkers to improve instruction and provide strategies for teaching reading and assessing students. “Having a reading endorsement makes you more employable. If I were a principal and saw an applicant had a reading endorsement on their resume, I would certainly take note of that,” said Mullins. “Pay scales typically go up based on the number of credit hours you have as well. This leads to higher compensation.”

What qualifications do I need?

Qualifications for the various programs offered across the state vary. However, the State of Ohio requires educators have a current teaching license. They also need 12 credit hours of undergraduate reading courses including one, 3-credit hour phonics course. After successful completion of a reading endorsement program, teachers are eligible to take the OAE for Reading to become certified.

Any teacher with an Ohio teaching license can earn their reading endorsement, whether they teach primary P-5, middle childhood, adolescent/young adult or multi-age classes.

What type of classes will I take?

Teachers typically take four graduate-level courses and complete fieldwork. “With reading endorsement classes, we take a deep dive into the nuances of teaching and assessing students. The skills we teach are research based and include best practices,” said Mullins. “I often hear teachers in my classes say they can’t wait to try out these new strategies. There are a lot of ‘aha’ moments as they learn more about the science of reading.”

At Bluffton University…

Bluffton’s reading endorsement program can be completed in as little as one summer. Experiential learning hours/fieldwork are embedded into your coursework and may be completed in your own classroom or school. Bluffton’s online program is flexible and student-centered.

Considering going back to school as an adult? Read our article with four questions to ask before going back to school. Then apply today!