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Child and Youth Studies: Language and Literacy

Share your love of reading and writing and make an impact in the lives of children and youth by pursuing the Language and Literacy specialization. Educational inequality too often creates a literacy achievement gap that is a roadblock as children work to reach their full potential. The Language and Literacy specialization prepares you to support learners in their literacy development: creating and implementing literacy activities, involving family and community, and understanding the connection between literacy and social justice.

Literacy proficiency drives academic success, but oftentimes children and youth need support in addition to traditional school instruction to learn and grow as readers and writers. In the Language and Literacy specialization, you will:

Build a foundation for understanding how emergent readers and writers become fluent over time.

Read, assess and select high quality children’s literature with an emphasis on essential elements of evaluating and selecting multicultural literature.

Explore literacy in its sociocultural context.

Experience the excitement of arts-based integrated teaching and learning.

When you choose the Language and Literacy specialization, your coursework will be determined by the age range of learners with whom you wish to work in your career. You may choose an emphasis on early learners, birth to age five, in coursework such as Children’s Literature and Literacy, and, New Media and Creative Pedagogies. Or you may choose an emphasis on older children and youth in coursework such as Adolescent Literature and Foundations of Middle Childhood Teaching and Learning.

Culminating Internship and Capstone Project

In your culminating year, you will engage in a year-long internship, learning hands-on about teaching and learning opportunities in a community organization. Placements are made based on your specialization, learning trajectory, and career goals. The internship provides the space to apply what you have learned, reflect on your practices, and challenge yourself to grow in new directions.

During your internship, you will select a Capstone Project, using all you have learned and experienced to impact children, families, the community, and the organization. You will use critical reflection, problem-solving skills, and action research to identify community problems and propose solutions to create lasting change. The Capstone Project allows you to share your knowledge and skills while also learning something meaningful to you and your organization.

Community internship details

Featured Coursework

  • Adolescent Literature
  • Arts-Based Integrated Learning
  • Children’s Literature
  • Equity and Diversity in Education
  • Literacy, New Media, and Creative Pedagogies
  • Reading Multicultural Literature across the Curriculum
  • Understanding Phonics

Career Paths

Students who successfully complete the Child and Youth Studies Language and Literacy Specialization have a variety of interesting career options, including:

  • Education Director, Family Literacy Coordinator – Community Action Organizations
  • Education Specialist – Youth Development Organizations and Arts Organizations
  • Literacy Specialist, Program Coordinator – Library Academic Support Programs
  • Program Manager – Non-profit Organizations
  • Teacher, Home Visitor – Community-Based Early Care and Education Programs
  • Teacher – Community-based Literacy Programs
  • Tutor, Program Manager – Tutoring and School Support Programs
  • Youth Advocate – Advocacy Organizations


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