Mary Kate Sullivan ’20 is pursuing her master’s as a reading specialist to foster childhood literacy in western Massachusetts.

A Love of Literacy

As a kindergarten teacher at Frederick Harris School in Springfield, MA, Mary Kate Sullivan ’20 loves teaching youngsters.

Photo of MaryKate Sullivan and a summer reading program student


“My favorite part of teaching is watching my students experience that ‘light bulb moment’ when reading,” the Springfield, MA, resident said. “Having a solid foundation in literacy is so important for them.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education at Elms College in 2017, Mary Kate decided to further her career in the reading specialist track of the master of arts in teaching (MAT) program. Working at the college’s summer reading program was a key factor for her.

“That’s the neat part about the reading clinic through Elms — it’s such a short amount of time, but the amount of growth you see in your students over the course of five weeks is really amazing,” she said.

The Path to Lifelong Reading

An educator’s teaching philosophy lies at the heart of everything they do. For Mary Kate, the MAT program offered her a chance to learn best practices from experts in the field, which in turn influenced her approach to individualized instruction.

Photo of Master of Arts in Teaching graduate student MaryKate Sullivan teaching at the Elms summer reading program


“The program at Elms has had a major impact on my pedagogy,” she said. “Students have diverse needs, and the professors at Elms modeled how to differentiate your instruction to meet those needs.”

“I try to provide my students with material that will challenge them, make them feel successful, and develop a love of learning,” she added.

Once she earns her master’s degree and completes her licensure requirements, Mary Kate hopes to become either a reading coach or intervention specialist for a local school district. Her passion for helping students develop their full potential will anchor her instruction.

“My role is to encourage my students to reach their full academic potential,” she said. “I hope that when they leave my classroom, they will view themselves as lifelong readers.”

Whether you teach first graders or high school seniors, the reading specialist track of the Elms MAT program trains you to help students achieve literacy. Contact us to learn more.