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Literacy Coaching: Learning to Collaborate, CourseSmart eTextbook

By Barbara J. Walker

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Sep 25, 2009

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Literacy coaches, learn to transform every interaction with teachers and students into an opportunity for learning!


Renowned author Barbara Walker takes a positive approach to literacy coaching and explores the possibilities for teacher development and student learning in her newest book, Literacy Coaching: Learning to Collaborate. Drawing from her experiences working with both pre-service and practicing teachers, Walker discusses the importance of learning to collaborate within the school and during classroom interactions in order to increase both teacher- and student-learning. She presents literacy coaches and teachers with a step-by-step process, the "cycle of literacy coaching" for adapting classrooom instruction and outlines best practice strategies for implementation, including the multiple decisions that teachers make before, during, and after a literacy lesson. The cycle is broken down into three steps for ease of use:

  • The pre-conference--teachers and coaches decide on the instructional procedures, which student to observe, the coaching procedures, what aspects of literacy to observe, and what student work to collect. 
  •  Implementation--the literacy coach observes the teacher and the students. 
  • The post-conference--the literacy coach and the teacher reflect on the lesson and analyze what they observed.  This analysis and the interpretation of the classroom interactions is integral. 

Using a gradual release model, Walker explains the different levels of support that a literacy coach can use as they work with teachers.  She discusses coaching through modeling, “coaching in the zone,” and coaching for independence.  Finally, the step-by-step techniques provided help teachers and coaches determine at what point during the lesson instruction was modified to promote student learning.



Table of Contents






Literacy Coaching and Classroom Interactions


Table of Contents



Chapter 1

Literacy Coaching in a Learning Community       1


Models and Characteristics                      2

The Learning Community                          6

     Literacy Coaches in the Learning Community 8

          Knowledge about literacy and literacy instruction

          Knowledge and Use of Collaboration

          Supporting Teachers Practice

     Teachers in the Learning Community              12                  Multiplicity of Experiences


          Practical Reasoning

Interrelationships of Classroom Interactions         17

     Literacy Coaches and Teachers in the Classroom

     Students in the Classroom

Summary                                         19



Chapter 2 

Coaching and Collaboration                  25


Attributes of Collaboration                     26


     Active Listening

     Shared Goals

     Collaboration Adds Value

     Perspective Sharing

Situations for Collaboration                    30  

     Collaboration in the learning community

     Collaboration in classroom interactions

     Collaboration in small groups

          Reflective Discussion Groups

          Study Groups

          Teacher-Research Groups

Summary                                         35



Chapter 3

The Cycle of Literacy Coaching              45


Section 1 - Getting Started                     46


     Getting to Know Each Other           

          Initial Perceptions of Teachers

          Setting the tone of collaboration

     Coaching Conversations               

          Conversations about instructional practices

          Conversations about student learning


Section 2 — The Literacy Coaching Cycle              49


     Preconference           50                          

          Selecting Target Students

          Selecting instructional procedures

          Selecting coaching procedures


               Collaborative teaching

               Ongoing Support



          Selecting What to Observe

               Student actions

               Teacher Actions

          Selecting Student Work


     Instructional Event      56  

     Conversations with students

     The literacy coaches’ observation process

     The teachers’ observation process

     Personal Refection


     Post Conference         59       

          Reflecting on instructional adjustments

          Describing reasoning in a one-on-one conversation


Section 3 — After the Coaching Process          60

     Small group reflection

          Reflecting on practical reasoning

          Reflecting on formal theories

     Continuing the reflective cycle

     A New Cycle of Literacy Coaching

Summary                                         63



Chapter 4

Gradual Release Model for Literacy Coaching 75


Coaching through modeling                       77

Coaching in the zone                            79

     Collaboratively Teaching

     Supporting by asking questions

     Supporting by prompting

     Support for modifying instruction

Coaching for Independence                       82

     Selecting examples to support teachers’ learning

     Collaboratively Reflecting Teacher and Coach Reflecting Together                                84       

     Practical Reasoning

     Collaborative Reflective Groups


Summary                                         86



Chapter 5

Observations, Analysis, and Interpretation      94


Section 1 Observation                           95


Conducting Observations

          Narrative descriptions


Observing Teachers

Observing Students

Observing Teacher-students interactions

Observing and Collecting Student Work


Section 2 Analysis                              101


Analyzing Teacher’s Actions           101

     Using questions to analyze teacher actions

     Analyzing teacher actions using rubrics

Analyzing Student Learning            104

     Are students actively engaged?

     Do students talk within the classroom context?

Are students constructing meaning connecting and          their background knowledge?

Are students verifying and checking their understanding?

Are students elaborating what and how they read?

Analyzing student-teacher interactions 107

Analyzing Student Work                109

     Searching for Patterns

     Using a Rubric


Section 3 Interpretation                             110


Interpretation of classroom interactions   111 

     Interpreting teachers’ actions

     Interpreting students’ actions

Interpreting Conversations                 112      

     Conversational Interviews with teachers

     Conversational Interview with students

     Student conversations about their work



Instructional Techniques Section                121


Directed Reading Thinking Activity              123

Graphic Organizers                         126 

Interactive Writing                        129          

Retelling                                  132

Semantic Mapping                           135

Story Mapping                              139

Summary Experience Approach                142

Think-aloud Approach                       146


References                                  154


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Literacy Coaching: Learning to Collaborate, CourseSmart eTextbook
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$27.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-13-702228-1