Literacy Coaches And Adolescent Reading Gains

becoming a literacy coach

Literacy remains a chief concern across the nation, with many American adolescents struggling to read at a level that allow them to perform well in school.

According to the recent National Assessment for Educational Progress exams, a quarter of eighth grade students are reading at “below basic” levels. These students will face challenges in high school, where the curriculum becomes more demanding. Therefore, it is important they receive academic support that will increase their vocabulary, study skills and abilities to understand complex course materials.

Schools and educational agencies across the country are developing programs to improve adolescent literacy in secondary schools. Literacy coaching is considered an essential part of the structure and success of these programs. There is growing evidence that literacy programs result in positive reading achievement.

Reading Success through Literacy Coaching

Educators must be supported and guided through the effective ways to improve adolescent literacy. Literacy coaches are critical to this process. They work with teachers to improve a child’s reading, writing and comprehension skills. Teachers of all subjects can develop coursework that allows students to read, write, research and solve problems.

Coaches create and lead literacy programs, primarily working with teachers to help implement and apply strategies designed to improve students’ abilities to excel in the classroom. They are vital members of education systems worldwide. In the U.S., many school districts employ literacy coaches and reading specialists to support educational objectives and enhance teaching.

As leaders of school literacy programs, coaches may review student assessment data, attend meetings and professional development sessions, inform lesson plans and conduct or facilitate training for colleagues.

Advising and Mentoring Teachers

Literacy coaching does not only benefit student achievement. It also helps teachers deliver high-quality lessons that lead to positive outcomes for all.

Coaching is highly collaborative. Unlike many professional development programs, literacy coaches work side by side with teachers in the classroom. They observe and engage with educators in a way that allows for immediate application of the techniques that are being taught. 

Literacy coaches are viewed by teachers as advisors and mentors who understand their goals and frustrations. Coaches assist teachers in overcoming problems that may arise by helping them meet objectives in a manner consistent with individual teaching styles and school context. Often, coaches are an essential link between teachers, departments and school administrators.

Literacy coaches also help teachers target specific, but necessary, areas of improvement in classroom teaching. Coaching is an ongoing process that includes evaluation to measure its effectiveness. This evaluation enables teachers to develop strategies that accommodate diverse student needs. Ultimately, coaching can be effective in increasing teacher understanding and student engagement.

Becoming a Literacy Coach

Reading is an essential skill for success in life. This is why the need for all students to achieve reading proficiency continues to grow in a world with more complex communication and work. Achievement is possible with the insights of reading specialists and literacy coaches.A path to becoming a literacy coach is through study focused on teaching reading at various educational levels. Carlow University offers a Graduate Certificate in Reading Specialist (PreK-12) that can be completed in as few as 12 months, on-campus or online. Teachers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree seeking to improve reading achievement at their schools are encouraged to explore this certificate program.