University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Reading Specialist Internship Program

Reading Specialist Internship Program


The purpose of the Reading Specialist Internship Program at the University of Pittsburgh is three-fold:
  • to provide interns with field experiences that are essential for preparation as reading specialists
  • to assist schools in providing supplemental and intervention support for students experiencing difficulty with reading
  • to provide interns with academic and financial support in completing requirements for Reading Specialist certification and the Master’s Degree in Reading Education
Interns are hired for one year by local schools through an application and interview process. Interns are paid a stipend toward the cost of the tuition and textbooks.

The Reading Specialist Internship Program begins in late August and concludes at the end of the public school year. Students may need to take additional courses during the summer term in order to complete all certification credits.

During the day, interns gain valuable experience working in a school with a certified reading specialist and other reading teachers. They work with students having difficulty with reading, assist teachers in planning literacy lessons, consult with reading specialists, assess and tutor students in reading, and generally become part of a school’s culture and routines.

This is a hybrid program with both online and face to face classes.

Who is eligible?

Certified teachers who qualify for acceptance into the University of Pittsburgh's Masters Plus Reading Specialist Program in the Department of Instruction and Learning are eligible for an internship.

Once accepted into the Masters Plus Reading Specialist program, interns complete the courses required for certification as a reading specialist and gain classroom experience at the same time. The Reading Specialist Certificate requires 24 graduate credits in reading and related fields. All Reading Specialist credits transfer automatically into the Masters in Reading Education Program (which requires another 15 credits). Interns may choose to complete the master’s degree requirements--which is recommended, but not required.

What do I do if interested?

  • Apply as soon as possible for the MEd plus Reading Specialist Certificate of Advanced Study (K–12). Applicants for the internship program will be accepted on a first come-first serve basis.
  • After being accepted to the program, apply to the Reading Internship Program.
  • Interview with prospective schools. You will be contacted by Dr. Michelle Sobolak, coordinator of the Reading Specialist Internship Program (or her graduate student assistant to the program) about arranging these interviews. These interviews will occur in late spring or early to mid summer--after schools know what their professional employment needs are for the upcoming school year. Interested candidates must be available for interviews with schools when contacted.
  • Once a school has hired you as an intern, you will be contacted for a mandatory orientation meeting in August at the University. All interns are expected to conform to all school regulations and University directives.

What about additional questions or concerns?

Contact Dr. Michelle Sobolak, coordinator of the Reading Specialist Internship Program, by e-mail at or phone at 412-648-7304.