3 graduate credits provided by Fitchburg State University.

This professional development course provides educators with an understanding of the components of reading development, including phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding, and fluency. The course content is rooted in the structure of literacy and explores the importance of building competency in the components of reading in order to ultimately read for understanding. Additionally, the course explores how reading development is impacted for students with a language-based learning disability (LBLD), such as dyslexia, which falls under the diagnostic umbrella of a specific learning disability (SLD). As a result of the learning experiences in this course, participants will be more competent in their ability to:

  • Identify the components of reading development
  • Understand how LBLD impacts reading development
  • Implement and adapt targeted strategies to support the components of students’ reading development
  • Design activities and lessons to promote students’ reading skills and, ultimately, ability to read for understanding

The course is divided into five modules over 10 weeks:

Though participants may work ahead of the specified course pace, this 3-credit course includes specific deadlines for each individual module.

  • Overview of Reading Development: This module presents an overview of reading development and explores how reading development is impacted for students with language-based learning disabilities.
  • Phonemic Awareness: This module describes phonemic awareness, the ability to differentiate and manipulate speech sounds.  
  • Phonics: This module addresses phonics, the connection of speech sounds to letters.
  • Decoding:  This module explores decoding, the association of letters with speech sounds in order to accurately read a word.
  • Fluency: This module outlines the components of fluency: accuracy, rate, expression, and phrasing.

Each module will follow the same basic outline:

  • A reading of course content followed by a short quiz
  • A reading of additional course content followed by a discussion post
  • A viewing of strategy demonstration videos featuring Landmark School teachers employing practical instructional strategies followed by a related assignment
  • An opportunity to submit concluding thoughts about the relevance of the course content
  • Reading current research/articles and completing reflective assignments to apply course content

Specific Assignments:

  • Pre and Post-Assessments: These ungraded questionnaires will be completed at the beginning and end of the course in order for participants to self-assess knowledge and application of course content.
  • Quizzes: The quizzes will assess comprehension of the content from the required reading.  The quizzes will be automatically graded within the course platform. Although participants must earn an 80% or higher to move on to the next section of the course, there are unlimited attempts allowed.  
  • Discussion Posts: The discussions will require participants to post an initial response and reply to at least one other post.  These tasks will be assessed using specific rubrics.
  • Assignments: The assignments in each module will require participants to apply their understanding of course content. These tasks will be assessed using specific rubrics.
  • Concluding Thoughts: These tasks require participants to synthesize three key takeaways from the module and will be assessed using specific rubrics.
  • Reading and Reflection Assignments: These tasks involve additional reading assignments followed by the completion of a reflective assignment connecting theory to practice. Submissions will be assessed using specific rubrics.


There is not a required text for the course.

Graduate Credit

Graduate credit is offered through Fitchburg State University and is included in the course fee. Once you register for graduate credit through Fitchburg, the grad credit portion of the course fee ($295) is non-refundable. Details about the graduate credit including timelines to register and refund policies will be embedded in the “Course Welcome” module of the online course.

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