Latest Content
Coaching Codes

A code of conduct is created to outline the standards and rules of behavior that guide an organization. Effective codes spell out “unspoken rules” as well, so that everyone can be successful. Heather Rader thinks through what a useful code for coaches might look like.

Jennifer Allen on Working with New Teachers (PODCAST)

New teachers need thoughtful support – Jennifer Allen has suggestions on how to provide that assistance in this podcast.

Undercover Coach: Making Time to Work with Children

If you're a literacy coach, the most important question to ask yourself may be this: How much time am I spending in classrooms?  Shari Frost writes about how coaches can move beyond a quest for perfect demo lessons to a stance of co-learners with teachers.

Jennifer Allen on Working with Veteran Teachers (PODCAST)

Jennifer Allen has developed some innovative support systems for veteran teachers. She shares her insights in this podcast.

Coaching Out of Chaos: Helping New Teachers Establish Management Systems

The #1 issue for many new teachers is management. Heather Rader shares how she tactfully assisted a novice teacher who needed help.

Who Rules?: Creating a Classroom Code of Conduct with Students

Heather Rader works with a young teacher to establish a better management system.

“To Teach is to Learn Twice”: Creating Professional Communities in Schools

What are the hallmarks of professional learning communities that work well in schools?

Calendaring a Literacy Coach

The joy and challenge of literacy coaching is creating a good structure for the day. Heather Rader has suggestions for short- and long-term planning on the coaching calendar.

Creating Shared Learning Experiences for New and Veteran Teachers

Laughter or struggles – the experiences we share are the ones that bind us together. Jennifer Allen mulls over how to foster more of those shared experiences for the colleagues she coaches.

Assessing Professional Development: Focus on Feedback

Jennifer Allen details her professional development formats, and the crucial role feedback plays in their success.

You Get What You Ask For: The Art of Debriefing

Heather Rader explores the fine art of asking specific questions during coaching debrief sessions.

Returning to Our Creation Chambers: Supporting Experienced Teachers

Jennifer Allen reflects on her experiences as a teacher, and develops ways to help the veteran teachers she works with return to their “creation chambers.”

Tips for More Effective Debriefing Sessions

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share strategies and seven different observation templates for participants to download and try out.

Making the Case for Literacy Coaches

If your district is considering cuts to its literacy coaching program, you’ll appreciate Shari Frost’s advice.

Learning from Coaching Mistakes

Inventors understand that early prototypes inform them best about what doesn't work rather than what does. But what about when prototypes are people? Heather Rader reflects on risk-taking, failure, and learning as a literacy coach.

My Colleague Refuses to Collaborate with Us (LITERACY COACH CONFIDENTIAL)

What do you do about a colleague who refuses to collaborate with other teachers on her grade-level team?  Literacy Coach Confidential takes on the problem, with suggestions from seven Choice Literacy contributors.

Implementing RTI: Keeping Students at the Heart of Our Conversations

Jennifer Allen provides some prompts for staff discussions about Response to Intervention to  help you connect long-term goals and beliefs with short-term strategies.

A Coach’s Perspective: Is Sarcasm in Style This Season?

When is sarcasm appropriate in classrooms? Never, yet more is popping up all the time in schools, even from teachers. Here is some advice for dealing with sarcasm.

There’s Been a Misblunderstanding

We're teachers and we have a tendency to talk too much. Heather Rader explains how she coaches a teacher through the problem.

How to Use a Coach: Four Things to Consider

Teachers, are you getting the most out of your relationships with the literacy coaches and other mentors in your midst?  Heather Rader has some thoughtful back-to-school advice for building more powerful teacher-coach relationships

How to Be of Use: Starting Strong

"Peppers make cats cry."  If you want to understand the wise advice for literacy coaches within this mnemonic device, you'll have to read this article. 

The DIBELS Divide (LITERACY COACH CONFIDENTIAL)

A curriculum coordinator loves DIBELS; a first-grade teacher doesn't.  We provide a range of suggestions from our contributors on dealing with disagreements over assessment.  This article is useful for teachers and literacy leaders who are working together with assessment data early in the year, no matter what evaluative system your school or district has in place.

Triangulating: The Importance of Multiple Data Points When Assessing Students

No data point for any child stands alone.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan write about the importance of triangulating data when looking at student assessments, and in the process affirm the value of classroom observations.

A Coach’s Perspective: No More Flying Pig Prompts


Heather Rader has advice for literacy coaches dealing with teachers who rely too much on writing prompts.

The Over-Prompting of Young Writers

Heather Rader shares strategies teachers at any grade level can use to become more thoughtful and flexible in their use of prompts.

Literacy Coach Confidential: My Colleague Talks Too Much!

Yakity yak won't bring 'em back to study groups when someone talks far too much. Here is advice from Choice Literacy contributors on how to deal with those "overtalkers" with tact and grace.

What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About . . .?

Ruth Shagoury and Melanie Quinn asked their colleagues to share the “most beautiful thing” about the puzzling student each of them is looking at closely in their study group. This is a great activity you’re looking for a quick and easy icebreaker to spark some positive energy in your next study group or staff meeting, and remind everyone of the joys of our profession.

Read Our Walls: Bridging Professional Development and Student Achievement

Jennifer Allen and her colleagues knew test scores weren’t the only way of defining their students’ achievements and the value of their professional development program. “Read Our Walls” is an easy but powerful way to celebrate writing from the entire school community.

Troubleshooting Coaching Cycles

Shari Frost finds "coaching cycles" are a valuable way for literacy coaches to work with teachers over time, but the first year of implementation was bumpy for her coaches. She shares some of the struggles her colleagues encountered in implementing cycles, as well as advice for overcoming these hurdles.

Back to the Classroom

Shari Frost reflects on what went wrong (or right) when a literacy coach decides to return to the classroom, and in doing so considers the kind of support literacy coaches need to thrive.

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