Career Development

What Does a Literacy Specialist Do?

Find out what a literacy specialist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a literacy specialist.

A literacy specialist is a professional who works with individuals or groups to improve their reading, writing, speaking and other communication skills. They may work with people of all ages and backgrounds, from preschoolers to senior citizens.

Literacy specialists commonly work in schools, but they may also be employed by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, private companies, or even individual families. In many cases, they are responsible for developing and implementing customized programs that address the unique needs of each student or group of students.

Literacy Specialist Job Duties

Literacy specialists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing one-on-one tutoring or group tutoring to students who need help with reading or writing skills
  • Developing curricula, lesson plans, and activities for use in the classroom
  • Designing and conducting teacher training seminars on topics such as new teaching methods, effective classroom management strategies, and new technology tools
  • Conducting research on effective methods of teaching reading and writing skills to students of different ages and abilities
  • Teaching students individually or in groups, depending on the needs of each student
  • Consulting with teachers regularly to provide feedback on student progress and offer suggestions for improvement
  • Observing students in classrooms to identify areas where they may need extra help with reading or writing skills
  • Designing and conducting workshops for parents about ways to help their children with homework and study skills at home
  • Analyzing assessment test results to determine which students have difficulties with specific skills and creating individualized learning plans for each student

Literacy Specialist Salary & Outlook

Literacy specialist salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of position they hold. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $108,000 ($51.92/hour)

The employment of literacy specialists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need for literacy specialists will stem from the projected growth in the older population, as more people reach retirement age and stay active later in life. As the large baby-boom generation ages, more people will need help with basic tasks such as reading medicine labels or filling out forms.

Literacy Specialist Job Requirements

A literacy specialist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most employers require literacy specialists to have a bachelor’s degree in education, English, reading or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree in education or a related field.

Training & Experience: Literacy specialists receive most of their training through their formal education. They may also receive on-the-job training in their roles as teachers or tutors.

Certifications & Licenses: Candidates are often required to pass a written certification exam specific to the state in which they plan to work. While each state has a different exam, they all assess reading, writing, critical thinking and math skills. Some states also have content-specific exams that test knowledge of topics like health, science, social studies and career and technical education.

Literacy Specialist Skills

Literacy specialists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Instructional design: Instructional design is the process by which a literacy specialist creates a lesson plan. This process includes selecting the right activities and assessments to meet the learning goals of the lesson. Instructional design is a crucial skill for literacy specialists because it allows them to create lessons that are engaging and effective.

Collaboration: Collaboration is the ability to work with others to achieve a common goal. As a literacy specialist, you may work with teachers, administrators, parents and students to develop a literacy plan for a student or group of students. Collaboration is an important skill for literacy specialists because it allows them to work together to create effective learning strategies.

Technology: Literacy specialists often use technology to help their students improve their reading and writing skills. You may use technology to create reading and writing assessments, track student progress and create engaging lesson plans. You can also use technology to help students practice their reading and writing skills in the classroom.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. As a literacy specialist, critical thinking is an important skill to have because it allows you to make informed decisions about the best way to help students improve their literacy skills. For example, if a student is struggling to read a book, you can use critical thinking to determine if they need more practice reading or if they need to learn how to interpret the meaning of the words on the page.

Assessment: Assessment is the process of evaluating a student’s current literacy skills and determining what areas they need to improve in. This is an important skill for literacy specialists because it allows them to create individualized learning plans for each student. Assessment also allows them to track student progress and make adjustments to their learning plans as needed.

Literacy Specialist Work Environment

Literacy specialists work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, libraries, community organizations, and publishing companies. They may work with students of all ages, from young children to adults. They may work full time or part time, and their hours may vary depending on the needs of their students and the demands of their job. Some literacy specialists may be required to travel to different schools or sites to provide services. Most literacy specialists work indoors in well-lit and ventilated areas. However, some may work outdoors, such as those who work for environmental organizations.

Literacy Specialist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how literacy specialists work. Literacy specialists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Literacy

The need for more technical literacy is becoming increasingly important in today’s economy. As technology advances, businesses are looking for employees who can not only use software and hardware products, but also understand how they work.

Literacy specialists can help meet this demand by developing skills in areas such as programming, data analysis, and cybersecurity. By doing so, they will be able to provide valuable support to businesses and help them stay ahead of the competition.

More Focus on Adult Education

As society becomes more complex, the need for adult education has become increasingly apparent. This is especially true in the workplace, where employees are often required to learn new skills quickly in order to keep up with changes in their field.

Literacy specialists can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in adult education methods. They can then use this knowledge to develop programs that help adults learn the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

A Greater Emphasis on Assessment

Assessment is becoming an increasingly important part of education. In fact, many schools now require students to take standardized tests in order to measure their progress.

As assessment becomes more common, literacy specialists will need to develop skills in assessment design and implementation. This will allow them to ensure that students are being assessed in a fair and accurate way.

How to Become a Literacy Specialist

A career as a literacy specialist can be incredibly rewarding. It offers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and adults, and to help them reach their full potential. As a literacy specialist, you will work with students who have learning disabilities or are struggling in school. You will develop programs that meet the needs of each student, and you will provide support and guidance as they progress through the program.

To become a literacy specialist, you will need to have a degree in education or reading. You will also need to be certified in special education or reading. Certification is important because it shows that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to do this job.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement prospects for literacy specialists are good. With experience, literacy specialists can move into higher-level positions, such as coordinator or director of a literacy program. They may also become consultants, working with multiple programs. In addition, literacy specialists who have a strong background in research may move into academia, where they can teach at the college level and conduct research on literacy issues.

Literacy Specialist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are committed to providing all students with the literacy skills they need to succeed in school and in life. We are looking for a highly qualified literacy specialist to join our team and help us achieve this goal. The ideal candidate will have a deep knowledge of literacy development and the ability to design and implement effective instructional programs. They will also have experience working with diverse populations of students and a commitment to equity and inclusion. The literacy specialist will be responsible for providing professional development to teachers, developing and implementing instructional programs, and assessing student progress.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement lesson plans that are aligned with state standards and the needs of individual students
  • Use a variety of assessment tools to track student progress and identify areas of need
  • Work with students one-on-one and in small groups to provide targeted instruction
  • Collaborate with teachers, administrators, and other specialists to develop Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Modify instructional materials as needed to meet the needs of individual students
  • Keep accurate records of student progress and submit reports to teachers, administrators, and parents as required
  • Attend IEP meetings and parent-teacher conferences as needed
  • Select and use a variety of appropriate teaching materials and methods to engage students in active learning
  • Maintain a positive and supportive classroom environment
  • Motivate students to set and achieve goals
  • Encourage students to be independent thinkers and lifelong learners
  • Model effective literacy strategies for students, teachers, and parents

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in education, literacy, or related field
  • Master’s degree preferred
  • 3-5 years teaching experience at the elementary level
  • Strong knowledge of current literacy research and best practices
  • Excellent organizational, time management, and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience working with struggling readers and/or English Language Learners
  • Certification in reading or literacy instruction
  • Bilingual abilities
  • Experience with assessment and data-driven instruction


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