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​CSPG 57 - Reading Specialist (PK-12)

​Instructional Area Code 7650
Modified: September 1, 2019

A reading specialist is responsible for working collaboratively with other professionals to design and provide instruction/interventions to students in the following areas:

  • Foundational Skills;
  • Reading Informational Text;
  • Reading Literature;
  • Writing; and
  • Speaking and Listening.

Grade Level Scope of Certificate

A person holding a valid Pennsylvania certificate for Reading Specialist is qualified to provide these services in grades PK-12.

Certification Assignment

The reading specialist, using multiple sources of assessment data, works collaboratively with other professionals to address the strengths and needs of learners at all performance levels in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

The reading specialist provides assistance to students in developing:

  • A working knowledge of concepts of print, alphabetic principle, and other basic conventions and how to apply them as effective readers;
  • An understanding of how to read and respond to both informational text and works of literature – with an emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and making connections among ideas and between texts with a focus on textual evidence;
  • An understanding of how to write for different purposes and audiences so that they write clear and focused text to convey a well-defined perspective and appropriate content; and
  • The skills needed to present appropriately in formal speaking situations, listen critically, and respond intelligently as individuals or in group discussions.

Certificate Clarifications

  • Reading Specialists teaching English Language Arts in the 2017-18 school year may be retained as long as they remain in those positions. Once a position is vacated, the Reading Specialist employed to teach ELA must obtain the proper designation as explained below.
  • Reading Specialists assigned to teach English Language Arts after the 2017-18 school year must obtain the English Designation Grades 4-8 by taking and passing the ELA subject concentration test (Pennsylvania Grades 4-8: Subject Concentration – English Language Arts, ETS test 5156). This designation by testing is available only to those holding a Reading Specialist PK-12 certificate.

Special Considerations

An educator certified in this field may:

  • Provide professional development; and
  • Serve in the role of mentor, coach or advisor.


Program Specific Guidelines for Certification

PA Core English Language Arts Standards 1.1 to 1.5

PA Public School Code: §1202, §1212, §1604

22 PA Code: Chapter 4: §4.21(e)(1), §4.22(c)(1), §4.23(c)(1)

Chapter 49: §49.11, §49.81, §49.102

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPG’s carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous printing dates on this subject: 1973, 3/75, 3/76, 6/95,7/04, 7/17.

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions
​Major Changes to CSPG #57
​9/2019​Updated grade scope for consistency and clarification.
​7/2017​Added Certificate Clarifications regarding ELA in middle
level grades 7 through 9
  • Updated language to align with the Core Academic Standards
  • Removed permission to teach English in grades 7-9
  • Definitions removed
  • Definitions of developmental and diagnostic prescriptive reading were listed
  • Reading specialists were permitted to teach English courses
  • Definitions of developmental and diagnostic/prescriptive reading were listed
  • Elementary K-6 certificate could be used to teach developmental reading and reading to special education students
  • Listed certificate titles that could be used to teach developmental and diagnostic/prescriptive reading to any grade level and to special education students:
    • Reading Teacher
    • English/Reading
  • Special Education certification could be used to teach developmental reading to special education students
  • Supervisor of Reading certificate or a Reading Specialist issued prior to 7/1/1988 is qualified to supervise a reading program PreK-12, but not Reading/Language Arts
  • Developmental reading that is part of a language arts course may be taught as follows:
    • Elementary grades: Elementary K-6
    • Secondary grades: English, Communication, English/Reading
    • Middle grades: CSPG #86 of 1/1987
    • Reading aides: CSPG #107 of 1/1987
  • Defined developmental, corrective, diagnostic/prescriptive reading
  • Developmental or diagnostic/reading may be taught by a certified reading teacher or reading specialist
  • Diagnostic reading may only be assigned to certified reading specialists