Current Literacy Education student Joelle Wilson understands the importance of continuing one’s education. Although she has over 20 years of experience and an advanced degree, she decided to return to school in order to remain current in her field. We had the opportunity to speak with Joelle about her background and why Stevenson University Online’s Literacy Education certificate program was the best fit for her.

My teaching career began at Rustburg Middle School in Virginia, where I taught seventh grade English for two years after I earned by bachelor’s degree from Liberty University in education with a certification to teach grades K-8. Upon moving back to Maryland, I transitioned to elementary school and taught fourth and then third grade at Mechanicsville Elementary over the course of nine years. It was during my tenure at Mechanicsville that I completed my master’s degree in Reading from McDaniel College. Later that same year, I took a Title I Resource teaching position close by at Cranberry Station Elementary.

During my seven years at Cranberry Station, I worked with at-risk students in grades two through five who were identified to receive targeted instruction in order to improve their progress in reading. For the last four years I have taught fourth grade Reading at Friendship Valley Elementary which entails meeting with each of the four classes for an hour per day. During our time together, I instruct students in reading in both whole group and small group settings. Along with reading strategies including direct instruction in decoding, comprehension, and fluency within the reading process, vocabulary and word study strategies are also explicitly taught. I spend my days doing what I absolutely love.

The reading specialist in my building first approached me about the Literacy Education program at Stevenson to see if I was interested in going through the program with her. After looking into the courses involved in the cohort I was immediately drawn to the subject matter as well as the technological integration into literacy education within the courses offered. Additionally, since it has been over a decade since the completion of my reading degree, I felt as though a refresher was in order!

Stevenson’s Literacy Education program has reinforced the strategies and instructional techniques utilized in the literacy education delivered to my students daily. It has also provided a backdrop for authentic, meaningful conversations with my colleagues who are participating alongside me about the subject matter presented in the courses. The texts and sources included in the program have been relevant as well as comprehensive for the intended purposes. As a result, my knowledge-base in literacy education has been further developed and strengthened.

I have really appreciated the components of the program that lend themselves to sharing information with other professionals in technologically savvy and innovative ways. While I am enjoying myself far too much in the classroom setting to transition elsewhere in the near future, I can envision myself in a leadership position supporting teachers in their planning for and executing literacy education to students at some point in the future. These courses are facilitating the preparation for this role.

For anyone considering this unique post-Bachelor’s certficate program, you should be aware of and prepared for the amount of time spent on the requirements for the courses within the Literacy Education program while recognizing that it is totally worth the efforts put forth.

For more information about Stevenson University Online’s Literacy Education certificate program, please contact us at or 1-877-531-7118. We are still accepting applications for the Fall 2019 semester with start dates on August 26 and October 21.

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