A Literacy Coach's Handbook: Coaching Strategies to Impact Student Learning in the Middle Grades

ABSTRACT A LITERACY COACH’S HANDBOOK: COACHING STRATEGIES TO IMPACT STUDENT LEARNING IN THE MIDDLE GRADES by Denise Conrado Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction Option California State University, Chico Spring 2010 With the increasing focus on reading achievement over the past decade at federal, state and local levels, there has been a rapid increase of literacy coaches hired to improve the reading expertise available to teachers and students at the school site level. The majority of these coaches have been hired to serve the primary grades because students are first learning to read at this level. Unfortunately, a large percent of students entering the middle grades do not have the skills necessary to comprehend core curriculum texts. Middle grades teachers often believe that students have come to them prepared to read and do not consider themselves as reading teachers equipped to teach literacy skills. A literacy coach can provide on-site staff development and coaching support to middle ix school teachers which will positively impact the literacy skills of young adolescent students. This project has developed a handbook for middle school literacy coaches, based on current research, which was field tested at a small, rural Northern California middle school. The handbook lists desirable qualifications for and responsibilities of middle grades literacy coaches. The handbook also describes the characteristics of young adolescents, their literacy development, and teaching strategies that have been shown to be effective in engaging these students while positively impacting their literacy development. Survey results in the final evaluation of this project showed positive results from the middle school teachers included in the field testing. All teachers indicated that the services offered by the literacy coach were beneficial to their teaching and had a positive impact on student learning and literacy skills development.