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M.A. in Reading, Language & Literacy

Courses within Literacy Education prepare teachers to assist other teachers and administrators in creating literacy programs that promote not only the learning of reading and writing, but also the learning of subject matter across the curriculum. Candidates may earn a Reading and Literacy Added Authorization, a Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential, or use courses within this area to satisfy the 21-unit course electives required for the M.A. Literacy Education Option. 

The RLAA and RLLSC Programs provide advanced preparation in reading/language arts assessment and instruction, clinical and field experience, as well as a strong foundation in theory and research in the teaching of reading and writing in the preK-12 educational system. Coursework prepares candidates to work within diverse settings and to maximize learning for diverse student populations. In this way candidates will be prepared for many different assignments, including preventing reading difficulties as early as possible, working with struggling readers, and helping English learners attain success in the development of their literacy strategies.  Students may also use these courses in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Reading, Language, and Literacy.

Candidates seeking the RLAA and/or RLLS must hold a valid teaching credential and have 3 years of teaching experience by the end of the program before they are recommended for the RLAA and/or RLLS credentials. The California 2042 teaching credential includes the authorization to teach English learners. Candidates who do not possess a valid California 2042 credential will meet the English Learner Authorization requirements through the coursework of the RLAA.

Candidates who do not hold a valid California 2041 teaching credential must submit the equivalent of the Basic Skills Requirement from the state in which they are credentialed/licensed.

This fully-online program is run through Extended Learning.

Full details are available on the Extended Learning program page.


  • Program Student Learning Outcomes/Guiding Principles

     Highly effective literacy teachers of monolingual and multilingual students…

    • Recognize major historical and contemporary theories and empirical research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, developmental and sociocultural foundations of reading and writing development, processes, and components,
    • Demonstrate the role of professional judgment in order to use foundational and historically shared knowledge to design or implement an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced literacy curriculum.
    • Create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge, instructional practices, approaches and methods, authentic literature, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessments.
    • Employ a wide range of texts (e.g., narrative, expository, and poetry) from traditional print, digital, and online resources for a wide range of teaching and learning purposes and students’ needs.
    • Utilize a variety of assessment information to plan and evaluate instruction
    • Teach English literacy by harnessing students’ primary language knowledge base to enable them to develop competency in the English language arts and to develop understanding of content across the curriculum.
    • Integrate tools of technology in literacy settings to gather, synthesize, and critically evaluate information and to create and communicate knowledge.
    • Display positive dispositions related to their own reading and writing and the teaching of reading and writing, and pursue the development of individual professional knowledge and behaviors.
    • Design, facilitate, lead, and evaluate effective and differentiated literacy programs for students and professional development programs.
    • Investigate questions, examine assumptions and beliefs, collect and analyze data to improve teaching and students’ learning.
    • Recognize and influence local, state, or national policy decisions.
    • Create and implement strategies to advocate for equity, excellence and social justice for all students.
  • Faculty

    Laurie Stowell

    Laurie Stowell has been a professor of literacy at California State University San Marcos since 1992. She received her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University in language, literature and reading. Prior to that, she taught middle school for eleven years in Columbus, Ohio. She teaches literacy courses in the middle level and elementary credential program, children's literature, as well as writing and assessment courses in the master’s program. In 2001, Dr Stowell also founded and directs the San Marcos Writing Project. Her research interests include writing, children’s and adolescent literature, and middle level literacy. Publications include practitioner’s journals, teacher education journals, a co-authored book and book chapters for practicing teachers and she has presented at numerous state and national conferences. She has also worked with elementary, middle and high school teachers in San Diego and Riverside County to plan and implement reading strategies and the teaching of writing. She was selected as the Outstanding Professor of the year at Cal State San Marcos in 1997, received the CSU Wang Family Excellence Award in 2005 and the California Teachers of English Classroom Excellence Award in 2008.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-4286


    Erika Daniels, Associate Professor in Literacy Education, received her doctorate in Literacy from a joint program between the University of San Diego and San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program. She teaches Literacy courses in the teacher credential program and advanced Literacy in the Masters program while also co-coordinating the Middle Level Education program.Her other professional role is as the Director for the Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education. The Alliance is a regional collaboration between CSUSM, community colleges, and K-12 school districts that focuses on a comprehensive and comprehensible pathway to college access and success. Before coming the CSUSM as a full-time faculty member, Erika taught kindergarten and middle school in East Los Angeles and middle school in Oceanside, CA. Erika's research interests are twofold and explore literacy practices for reluctant and disengaged learners and as well as how the context of schooling fosters or hinders the motivation of young adolescents.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-8547


    Elizabeth Garza, Associate Professor in Elementary Literacy

    Phone: (760) 750-8504


    Christiane Wood

    Christiane Wood, Assistant Professor in Literacy Education, received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  Before coming to CSUSM, Christiane taught kindergarten, early elementary grades, and middle school and was a reading specialist (PK-12) in Wisconsin. Christiane received her Elementary Education and French B.A. and M.A. in Educational Policy & Leadership and Literacy Studies from Marquette University.

    Christiane’s scholarly interests include early childhood literacy, multiliteracies, play/tinkering, educational technology, social justice, and educational leadership for change.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-8235

  • Appeal & Grievance Policy and Procedures


Danielle Moore
CEHHS Student Services Advisor

Laurie Stowell
Program Coordinator

Applications open for a Summer 2021 Start!

Apply by May 5, 2021!