Boyles, N. (2007). Hands-on literacy coaching: Helping coaches integrate literacy content with the "how-to" of coaching. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House.

Author: Nancy Boyles



This is a highly accessible, reader-friendly book for literacy coaches. Published in a workbook style, this book is designed for ease of use: Clearly and logically labeled subheadings make it easy to navigate, pull-out quotes help focus on important points, study questions conclude each chapter and encourage reflection and implementation, and several forms and worksheets offer help with planning and organization.

Building from the premise that the literacy coach's greatest responsibility is to be a "teacher of teachers" the author sets out to answer two questions: 1) What do I need to understand about literacy instruction in order to recognize, and help teachers see for themselves, when their literacy teaching is going well - or not so well? and 2) What do I need to understand about the process of coaching in order to move teachers toward independence in their own implementation of best literacy practices? This is a pro-teacher book intended to help literacy coaches design effective professional development practices with teachers.

The book itself is divided into two parts, each containing four chapters. Part I: Understanding Literacy Instruction includes chapters which clarify and define good literacy instruction: Chapter One, "The Literacy Context," considers classroom environment and management and describes classrooms where literacy learners thrive; Chapter Two, "Setting the Stage for Literacy Learning," considers how teachers can get students engaged and ready to learn. Chapter Three, "Building Literacy Knowledge," describes how teachers can explain and model effectively; and Chapter Four, "Reinforcing Knowledge," advises teachers how to nudge students toward independence in their literacy learning. Part II: Understanding Coaching includes chapters that explain how to become an effective teacher of teachers: Chapter Five, "When and How to Intervene," identifies common problems teachers encounter in their literacy instruction, and offers several intervention suggestions for each; Chapter Six, "The Coach/Teacher Dynamic," examines the interpersonal elements of coaching teachers and offers insights into how to work with varying, and sometimes difficult, teacher types; Chapter Seven, "Principles and Protocols of Effective Literacy Coaching," discusses the who, the how, and the management of literacy coaching, and provides numerous instructional checklists, planning forms, observation forms, conferencing logs, and reflection guides; and Chapter Eight, "Applying What you Know," guides the reader through a series of scenarios asking them to implement and practice the content of the book.

Because of the author's approach - what is good literacy teaching, and what is good literacy coaching? - this book is a great resource for any professional new to literacy coaching, but would also be a valuable resource for classroom literacy teachers looking to reflect on and improve upon their own instruction. Furthermore, at the end of the book, the author includes an extensive categorized bibliography of professional resources. The categories include "Literacy Research and Practice: Differentiated Instruction and Multiple Dimensions," "Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Spelling," "Vocabulary Instruction," "Fluency," "Comprehension," "Oral Language," "Writing," "Small-Group/Guided Instruction," "Reading Nonfiction," "English Language Learners," "Interventions for Struggling Readers," and "Teaching Literacy in and Urban Environment." This is a ready resource for every literacy coach or teacher.

Date Added: 10/20/2008


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