Shaw, M. (2007). Preparing reading specialists to be literacy coaches: Principles, practices, possibilities. Journal of Language and Literacy Education [Online], 3(1), 6-17. Available: http://www.coe.uga.edu/jolle/2007_1/preparing.pdf
Author: Shaw, M.
This article details the rationale, design, principles, practices, and experiences of the literacy coaching preparation program implemented at St. Thomas Aquinas. The program was created to address the Standards for Reading Professional-Revised 2003 (International Reading Association, 2004) which named new criteria that graduate reading/literacy programs must meet in order to receive IRA national recognition. Consequently, Shaw explains, "graduate reading/literacy programs seeking IRA national recognition are now required to add coaching initiatives to course assignments so that graduate students get opportunities to assist and support classroom teachers in assessment, instructional grouping, choosing appropriate texts and materials, teaching reading and writing strategies, and conducting professional development" (p. 8). In response to these standards, and endorsing the belief that "literacy coaches can be transformative change agents who make a school-wide impact" (p. 8), the teacher educators at St. Thomas Aquinas set out to create a program that would produce graduates who would be well-prepared to assume positions of leadership and who would work for needed change in schools. Shaw's article describes the framework for the St. Thomas Aquinas program.
One interesting feature of this article is contained in Shaw's explanation of how they set about preparing and supporting the graduate students in the program to effectively handle situations where they would coach more senior teachers. This is a common issue and concern among many literacy coaches. The St. Thomas Aquinas program shared interesting insights into how to address that issue, and many others that literacy coaches face in fulfilling their many roles and responsibilities.
This article is a must-read for anyone developing an educational coaching program, or looking to reflect upon a current coaching program. Furthermore, it would provide interesting points of reflection and consideration for practicing or aspiring literacy coaches, and a framework from which administrators could begin to consider how to better prepare and support the coaches in their buildings and districts.
Date Added: 01/31/2008
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