Journal of Language and Literacy Education [Online], 3(1). Literacy coaching special issue. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from




The position of the literacy coach is unique: The literacy coach is much like a reading coach in that he/she is charged with improving literacy education, and therefore student achievement; yet, unlike the reading coach, the literacy coach has the added responsibility of providing on-going, job-embedded professional development to teachers as a means to this end. In the issue's editorial, "Entering the Conversation: The Literacy Coaching Special Issue" Van Cleave and Bottoms Dailey explain that while the adoption of literacy coaching has become widespread, ambiguity remains around what effective literacy coaching does and should look like. They write, "In an era when 'highly-qualified' teachers are mandated, it seems unusual that similar expectations are not spelled out for the literacy coaches charged with supporting and developing these teachers" (p. 1). Will these expectations naturally evolve as literacy coaching becomes more widespread? According to the editorial, this lack of definition has both dark and bright sides: Ambiguity makes it difficult to employ high standards, but allows for site-based flexibility- "different definitions for different contexts" (p. 2). Thus, the Journal of Language and Literacy Education has compiled a special issue dedicated entirely to examining how literacy coaching works, and how it does not work.

This special issue on literacy coaching consists of an editorial, seven articles, and an appendix containing examples of pre-conferencing notes, observational field notes, and a coach's written reflection. Because each article so specifically speaks to different issues and aspects of literacy coaching, they will be summarized separately in the Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse library. The following is a list of the articles in the special issue:

"Preparing Reading Specialists to be Literacy Coaches: Principles, Practices, Possibilities" by Michael L. Shaw, St. Thomas Aquinas College

The Magic of Coaching: Art Meets Science" by Kathy S. Froelich, Florida State University

Coaches Coaching Coaches" by Jan Miller Burkins and Scott Ritchie, Clarke County School District

"The Anatomy of Coaching: Coaching Through Storytelling" by Phyllis A. Blackstone, EdD., Viterbo University

"Organizational Barriers to Effective Literacy Coaching" by Allison Niedzwiecki, New Rochelle High School, NY

"Wading Through It: Balancing Opposing Tensions via Effective Literacy Coaching" by Andrea Pintaone Neher, Fowler Drive Elementary School

"Coaching Conversations for Beginners" by Tonia Bowden Paramore, Kennedy Elementary School

Date Added: 01/31/2008


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