What is a Literacy Coach?

If your experience with coaches is limited to the volunteers you see at Little League games, or the high-powered jocks in headsets on the sidelines in pro football games, you may want to check out the coaching going on in your local public school. Top-quality teachers are being tapped to assist their peers with analyzing the needs of readers and writers, developing lessons, and poring over assessment data to plan future instruction. These literacy coaches are becoming a vital part of many school staffs.

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Dedham, ME (PRWEB) August 10, 2006

If your experience with coaches is limited to the volunteers you see at Little League games, or the high-powered jocks in headsets on the sidelines in pro football games, you may want to check out the coaching going on in your local public school. Top-quality teachers are being tapped to assist their peers with analyzing the needs of readers and writers, developing lessons, and poring over assessment data to plan future instruction. These literacy coaches are becoming a vital part of many school staffs.

"What's unique about the coaching movement is that the talent is coming from within schools," explains Brenda Power. "Most of the coaches are veteran teachers who are already respected in their local schools and districts." Power is a literacy researcher who coordinates the Choice Literacy Web site, a resource where literacy coaches publish print and video resources for their colleagues.

Coaches take on a variety of roles in schools, from demonstrating instruction and conferring techniques in classrooms, to helping their peers collect books and materials for a unit on reading synthesis. Unlike a principal or supervisor, the literacy coach's role is one of support, not evaluation. "Literacy coaches help target resources in ways that maximize their impact on schools. They are mentors to their colleagues, helping them sort through what professional readings, workshops, or courses might best help them improve their instruction," says Power.

While literacy coaches are common in elementary schools, recent shifts in federal funds have led to many positions in middle and high schools. These literacy coaches sometimes work solely with colleagues in science, math, and social studies, tackling the issue of how to help students understand concepts in textbooks, particularly students who are reading far below grade level.

For more information on literacy coaching, including sample tools and narratives by literacy coaches from across the country, visit http://www.choiceliteracy.com

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