Career Story: School District Literacy Specialist

School District Literacy Specialist

Type of Company: I work for a school district in Portland, Oregon.

Education: BA, English, Oregon State University •• M.Ed, Curriculum and Instruction, Portland State University

Previous Experience: I taught eighth grade language arts and social studies.

Job Tasks: As a district literacy specialist, I spend much of my time training and coaching middle and high school teachers on the most effective ways to improve the reading skills of struggling adolescents. I run workshops and conferences for teachers. I go into classrooms to observe and give non-evaluative feedback; I model lessons in teachers' classrooms; I sit with teachers and help them plan instruction; I look at testing data and help teachers analyze it; and I meet with administrators to help them create schoolwide literacy plans.

I also attend numerous district meetings to look at district data and how we can better serve our students and help create district literacy plans.

In a typical day, I visit a school to meet with a teacher and discuss with them areas of their teaching that they would like help with. We look at the literacy curriculum they use and I talk them through some of the more unfamiliar parts of it or give them examples of how I or others have taught it. We then set some goals for a lesson (for example helping a particular student master a reading strategy through a reading conference), and plan a lesson. Usually the teacher asks me to model how I would teach the lesson in one period and then I observe them teach the lesson in a different period. We would then spend some time talking about how it went and what was learned.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are having the chance to work with some amazing teachers who are passionate about teaching teenagers and helping them become better readers. Teachers rarely get to leave their classrooms to see how other people do it, so I feel very privileged that I have this opportunity. I also love seeing the students, especially when I work with a particular teacher over a period of time and can get to know the kids.

The worst part of my job is having to work with teachers who are sub-par and don't care about improving their methods.

Job Tips:
1.) Truly believe that all students can learn and that you can help them achieve.

2.) Read the research about how our brains learn best and about which literacy methods work best with adolescents.

3.) Develop your skills for both working with students and adults. (Adults are much harder to work with!)

Popular Schools offering Elementary Education Teaching Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

Pursue your education at Pacific Oaks College.

  • Programs: M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential, Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, Multiple Subject English Learner Teaching Credential, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Early Childhood Education - EdS, Early Childhood Education - Doctor of Education, Early Childhood Education - PhD in Education, more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

  • Programs: Early Childhood Education (Certificate Only) - Online, Early Childhood Education (MEd plus Certification) - Online, Early Childhood Education (Master of Education) - Online, more...
  • Degrees: Certificate, Master

Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

  • Programs: M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Curriculum & Instruction: Early Childhood Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies, M.Ed. in Career and Technical Education, more...
  • Degrees: Master

Abilene Christian University (ACU), founded in 1906 and affiliated with the Church of Christ, has a long and proud heritage dedicated to educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Instructors teach students how to think critically and globally in each of their respective programs, while still maintaining a focus on their particular program of study. ACU is an academically notable institution top ranked by U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges", as well as The Princeton Review and Forbes.

  • Programs: Master of Education in Higher Education
  • Degrees: Master

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: MA in Teaching - Elementary Education, M.Ed. Teaching and Learning - Elementary Education , M.Ed. - Teaching and Learning, more...
  • Degrees: Master

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) recently received state approval to enroll students with little to no prior college experience. To help ensure student success, the university has created a program especially for these students who plan on starting their college experience for the first time with us.

  • Programs: MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Degrees: Master

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

  • Programs: Education Specialist in Instructional Design and Technology, PhD in Instructional Design and Technology
  • Degrees: Certificate, Doctorate

NU has been educating leaders since 1934 at our campus near Seattle. If you have a dream, we can help make it possible.

  • Programs: Master in Ministry, Bachelor of Arts in Ministry Leadership, Master of Education - Data Driven Instruction , more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor, Associate, Certificate

Abilene Christian University is a national leader in Christian higher education and a place where students, faculty, staff and alumni make a real difference in the world.

  • Programs: Doctor of Education in Organizatonal Leadership - Higher Education Track, Doctor of Education in Organizatonal Leadership, Doctor of Education in Organizatonal Leadership - Conflict Resolution Track
  • Degrees: Doctorate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Elementary School Teachers

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Elementary School Teachers, including:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104