5 steps to maximize literacy coaching: ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

By Emily Blinn and Sally Valentino Drew
April 2022
As districts consider how to use federal funds to address learning gaps spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, hiring additional literacy coaches rises as a viable option. Literacy coaches have a unique perspective to see beyond individual classrooms and observe the school as  a system working toward literacy achievement. Coaches can use this perspective to address areas for professional growth across the entire school community (Alvermann & Jackson, 2016). Emerging in the research is an understanding that school leaders play an integral role facilitating the work of the literacy coach. A leader’s vision and expectation for coaching, paired with consistent support of a collaborative coaching culture, can increase teacher participation in coaching (Johnson, 2016). There is increased leverage when the coach and school leader develop this

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Alvermann, D.E. & Jackson, G. (2016). Alvermann & Jackson: Response to “beyond the Common Core: Examining 20 years of literacy priorities and their impact on struggling readers.” Literacy Research and Instruction, 55(2), 107-110.

Clarke, A.E., Friese, C., & Washburn, R.S. (2018). Situational analysis: Grounded theory after the interpretive turn. SAGE.

Foltos, L. (2015). Principals boost coaching’s impact: School leaders’ support is critical to collaboration. Journal of Staff Development, 36(1), 48-51.

Gallucci, C., Van Lare, M.D., Yoon, I.H., & Boatright, B. (2010). Instructional coaching: Building theory about the role and organizational support for professional learning. American Educational Research Journal, 47(4), 919-963.

Johnson, K.G. (2016). Instructional coaching implementation: Considerations for K-12 school leaders. Journal of School Administration Research and Development, 1(2), 37-40.

Mangin, M.M. (2014). Capacity building and districts’ decision to implement coaching initiatives. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22(56).

Matsumura, L.C., Garnier, H.E., & Resnick, L.B. (2010). Implementing literacy coaching: The role of school social resources. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 32(2), 249- 272.

Walpole, S., McKenna, M. Uribe-Zarain, X., & Lamitina, D. (2010). The relationships between coaching and instruction in the primary grades: Evidence from high-poverty schools. Elementary School Journal, 111(1), 115-140.

Emily Blinn ( is an elementary literacy coach in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Sally Valentino Drew ( is an associate professor of special education and interventions at Central Connecticut State University.

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