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Ruth Ayres explores what literacy coaches can do when they are sidelined or marginalized by difficult conditions in a school.

Aligning Beliefs and Practices: Homework Policies

Melanie Quinn shares the process of coming up with a schoolwide homework policy that aligns beliefs and practices across grade levels.

Sustaining Trust While Maintaining High Expectations

Matt Renwick tackles a tricky issue for literacy leaders. How do you build a relationship of trust when there are clearly issues with the quality of a teacher's instruction?

Coaching for Confidence

No matter their level of skill or experience, teachers can find their confidence shaken. Melanie Quinn analyzes some of the reasons for teacher insecurity, and how literacy coaches can help.

Who Keeps You Up at Night?

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan ask this question to launch a discussion of one challenging learner and open teachers to the possibilities of case studies.

From Somewhere to Somewhere

Brian Sepe struggles in a coaching cycle with an experienced teacher and realizes he has imposed his agenda on the work. His reflection leads to some changes in the ways he collaborates with colleagues.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Gretchen Taylor reflects upon a poor relationship she develops with an instructor, and how the narratives we construct can inhibit our professional interactions with colleagues.

Erasing the Lines in the Sand

Gretchen Taylor finds that many of us are more opinionated than ever, but literacy coaches will never find a home in classrooms without suspending judgment.

Managing the Email Load

Jennifer Schwanke explains how she categorizes her emails and streamlines the time she spends reading them.

Always “On”: Reconsidering Connectivity

Gretchen Taylor writes about the promise and peril of new tech tools that allow teachers, students, and coaches to always be connected. She shares some questions to help teachers make wise choices about how they will use these tools in classrooms.

Advice for New Literacy Coaches: An Interview with Susan Avis

Susan Avis chats with Brenda Power about the delicate work of honoring the strengths of teachers while still pushing them beyond their comfort zones to improve skills.

A Test Run for Difficult Decisions

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan describe a four-part protocol they use for working through their most challenging decisions.

Conflict: A Coach’s Perspective

Julie Johnson gives a coach's perspective on conflict with a teacher and how it was resolved.

Conflict: A Teacher’s Perspective

Scott Jones shares his experience of being in conflict with a coach. After an uncomfortable 24 hours, he ends up with some insights about the value of the teacher-coach relationship.


Ruth Ayres realizes that sometimes the most important advice coaches can give to teachers is to just hang in there when things don't go as planned in reading workshops.

Bounce-Back Spirit

Ruth Ayres shares the "bounce-back spirit" all educators need through the inspiring story and video of Heather Dorniden.

From Worksheets to Workshops

A teacher asks first-year literacy coach Gretchen Taylor to observe and help with a disengaged student. Gretchen discovers in her observation that the issue may be that the literacy curriculum needs an update.

Helping with Management Challenges in First Grade

Melanie Meehan is coaching a first-grade teacher struggling with management. She shares her top four strategies for focusing students during minilessons.

Always Another Choice

Ruth Shagoury finds herself checking out during dysfunctional staff meetings. A mentor shares an anecdote and advice that helps her rethink her role with colleagues.

Honesty, Ignorance, and Building Relationships

How are leaders supposed to provide thoughtful insights when they don't know much about what they are observing? Jennifer Schwanke shares how she builds her knowledge base and rapport with teachers when faced with gaps in her expertise.

Coaching Relationships: Move Closer

Melanie Quinn has a poor start in her coaching relationship with a teacher. She begins again by going against her natural instincts, and is surprised by the results.

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