Reading specialists, also known as reading teachers, reading coaches, or reading consultants, support the advancement of better reading in a variety of educational organizations. Reading specialists are trained in three main job functions: student tutoring, literacy program administration, and teacher and librarian support. Most reading specialist jobs focus on one or two of these functions, depending on the particular needs of the specialist's educational institution.
By and large, reading specialist jobs are concentrated in the public education system, especially for specialists in the United States. Reading specialists can work in a single school, or they may have responsibilities in schools across an entire district. They usually focus on a particular grade level, such as early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary. Other areas where reading specialist jobs can be found are in private schools, reading clinics, and academic tutoring companies. Some specialists focus on helping adults to improve their reading ability.
One type of job for reading specialists is giving one-on-one or group based attention to students who need to improve their reading. This attention usually takes the form of individualized tutoring and often involves the administration of literacy tests. After the reading specialist determines the student's individual needs, he or she may then create lesson plans, personalized reading lists, or strategies for continued learning outside the classroom.
Another reading specialist job is administering literacy programs. Reading specialists who practice in a wider school setting may be responsible not only for helping students who need to improve their reading, but for supporting average and good readers as well. This support most often takes the form of reading programs. The reading specialist will usually form and manage several class, school, or district wide reading lists and courses.
The third major job for a reading specialist is to aid teachers and librarians. Specialists are often called upon to provide professional development, training, and specialized support to teachers. They may also be able to provide useful information to librarians about literacy. Reading specialists may also work a faculty support and development program into a school's overall reading program.
Although the best place to find reading specialist job opportunities is still in a local school district, other opportunities exist. Private and commercial schools often provide reading specialist jobs with the same basic functions as public schools. Adult education programs may also require the services of a reading specialist. Some reading clinics and tutoring companies may also provide reading specialist jobs.