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Specialist Certificate: Teaching Writing and Literacy

Are you trying to include more writing in your curriculum? Do the writing elements of the PA Core Standard concern you? No matter what subjects you teach, Penn State’s Specialist Certificate: Teaching Writing and Literacy is for you!

This 15-credit program is similar to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s range of educational endorsements. The Writing Specialist Certificate is designed to afford educators deep study in all aspects of teaching literacy. It provides the teacher with real-world skills for implementing the writing requirements of the PA Core Standards. 

Every day technology is changing how we communicate. Thanks to social media, texting, emails, blogging, digital publishing, and the Internet, the role of the written word has become more important than ever. People will make decisions based on how we present ourselves in our writing. By adopting standards that require School Districts to incorporate writing at every level and in every subject, law makers and state officials have stressed just how important it is for our children to be able to write well.

This program is designed for teachers who want to incorporate more quality writing into their curriculum. The program contains twelve core credits plus a 3-credit elective concentration for a 15-credit certificate. These courses may “step up” as electives into PSU Harrisburg’s Master of Education in Teaching and Curriculum.

Required Core Courses

EDUC 452: Teaching Writing
The first course in the series offers techniques for teaching the writing process, kindergarten through grade 12, including writing in the content areas and incorporating the Common Core State Standards. This course is a prerequisite for EDUC 463, 425 and 477. (3 credits)

EDUC 463: Teaching with Modern Web Technologies
This course relates educational theory and practice to applications of the modern Web, applying content from educational foundations, curriculum, and research. Prerequisite: EDUC 452. (3 credits)

EDUC 425: Literacy Assessment
This course emphasizes alternative literacy measures for assessing writing, specifically focusing on portfolio and performance evaluation for classroom and large scale assessment. Prerequisite: EDUC 452. (3 credits)

EDUC 477: Teaching Struggling Readers and Writers
This course offers a comprehensive overview of learning problems and effective strategies for teaching K-12 students who have difficulties reading and writing. Prerequisite: EDUC 452. (3 credits)

Electives (choose one)

EDUC 432: Children’s Literature in Teaching Writing
Participants will learn methods for transferring writing skills and literary devices from literature to student writing in all subject areas. No prerequisites. (3 credits)


EDUC 464: Technology and the Learning Process
This course examines and evaluates the relationship between technology-based resources for writing and learning theories through design, implementation, and evaluation of online instructional modules. No prerequisites. (3 credits)

EDUC 497: Using a Writer's Notebook to Empower Writers
This course will explore the endless possibilities of using a writer's notebook to strengthen and broaden both student writing and classroom instruction. Best suited for grades kindergarten - 8th. No prerequisites. (3 credits)

Who Should Attend?

This program is designed for K-12 teachers in all content areas including ESL, gifted and special education. Literacy coaches, paraprofessionals, Curriculum Coordinators and school Administrators will also find this program of tremendous value.

Certificate Program Benefits

Certificate programs provide a flexible, convenient, short-term opportunity for professional development, self enhancement, and earning a formal academic credential from Penn State. Certificate program courses can “step up” or apply to academic degrees at Penn State.

Admission to Certificate Programs

This is a post-baccalaureate certificate designed specifically for people working in education. A bachelors degree from an accredited institution is required to enroll in this certificate. If you are interested in enrolling, you will need to apply for the certificate by going to the Graduate School online at www.gradsch.psu.edu. In addition, if you have not previously taken a graduate course at Penn State, you must complete and submit the online Penn State Non-Degree Application.

Financial Aid

Information on financial aid, including grants and loans, is available for part-time students enrolled in a credit certificate program.


Courses will be offered at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman and the Northern Tier Center in Towanda.

For more information, please contact:

Penn State Wilkes-Barre
Northern Tier Center
120 Career Center Lane
Towanda, PA 18848
Phone: 570-268-7778
Fax: 570-268-7779
E-mail: psnortherntier@.psu.edu

View the brochure (pdf)