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In this cross-case study, we examined how two reading specialist candidates negotiated their yearlong practicum experiences in relation to university coursework and their previous teaching experience. Data sources included interviews, weekly teaching logs, and field observations. Findings reported in extended vignettes reveal how both interns were placed in positions that required them to negotiate instructional expectations at their internship sites and practices advocated in their coursework. In both cases, those two realities were often at odds when they were required to implement a program with scripted lessons and a required pacing guide. The findings raise important questions about the impact of such experiences on reading specialist preparation and representation of the reading specialist role.