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Childhood Literacy Overview

Program Coordinator
Prof. Yang Hu
901 West Building
212 772-4753

The Childhood Literacy Program is a 31-37 credit graduate program designed to prepare teachers to meet New York State requirements for professional certification as a teacher of literacy, birth through grade 6. The program has been nationally recognized by the International Reading Association. It has also been approved by the New York State Department of Education.  The program is designed for students who hold New York State initial certification in early childhood education, childhood education, TESOL, or childhood special education; or provisional certification in special education K-12 or common branches K-6. 

The Childhood Literacy Program course of study is divided into four levels of courses: instructional foundations, theoretical foundations, clinical sequence and leadership sequence.

The courses, content, and competencies of the Hunter College Childhood Literacy Program are built upon shared core beliefs and values about literacy, children, and teachers.  The core beliefs that guide the coursework in the program are:

  • The goal of literacy is to produce lifelong learners (amongst teachers and students) who use literacy to meet their needs and purposes; and is reflected in competencies and methods of evaluation throughout the program.
  • Literacy is a dynamic, social process of speaking, listening, reading and writing that involves discourse practices, values and beliefs acquired at home and learned in school; and is reflected in coursework in early literacy, language literacy and learning, children’s literature, and embedded orientations to content in many other courses.
  • Literacy skills can (and should) be instructed, experienced and learned in many different ways to meet multiple needs and purposes; and is reflected in coursework in instructional approaches, writing, literacy within the disciplines, remediation and the organization of childhood literacy programs.
  • Involvement of and communication with families, communities, supplemental service providers and professional colleagues is essential in supporting the literacy development and meeting the learning needs of diverse children within urban settings; and is reflected in modules in special needs adaptations and coursework in leadership, diagnosis, assessment and embedded competencies and methods of evaluation in many other courses.
  • Diversities in all forms (including exceptionalities and giftedness) at many levels and in many contexts are strengths that should be built upon for effective literacy learning to occur; and are reflected throughout the program in competencies, methods of evaluation, and orientations to content.
  • Assessment is the foundation upon which instruction, curriculum design, and program development should be based; and is reflected in coursework in assessment, diagnosis, instructional approaches, leadership, and embedded in competencies and methods of evaluation in other courses.


The Hunter College Childhood Literacy Program is also guided in its design by values about pedagogy in graduate education.  The values held by the Childhood Literacy Program are reflected in the content of and approaches to the coursework:

  • Competencies are built through multiple exposures, experiences, and opportunities to apply knowledge across a number of contexts and are measured at the height of integration in specific courses and transition point evaluations.
  • Professionalism is modeled, discussed, and supported through introduction to professional associations, journals, and activities that foster professional growth and development in a variety of contexts and at multiple levels of involvement.
  • Theoretical and research-based knowledge is foundational but revisited frequently through critique, application and analysis in a variety of contexts and from a diversity of perspectives.
  • Integration is the most effective manner to support professional growth in practice in the areas of assessment, challenges of diversity, aesthetics and technology when foundational knowledge has been established.


A unique feature of the Childhood Literacy Program is our infusion of aesthetic experiences in our courses of study. We have collaborated with the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education (LCI) since the inception of the program. The LCI components are integrated into a sequence of three courses: EDLIT 732, Children’s Literature, EDLIT 731, Literacy Assessment, and ELDIT 734, Literacies within the Disciplines.

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