Literacy How Coaching

The WHY, the HOW, and the WHAT of Helping Teachers Become Method-proof Masters of Literacy Instruction


Coaching is the key to transforming literacy instruction. Literacy How Mentors meet teachers where they are in their beliefs, knowledge, and skills about reading and provide them with the best evidence-based literacy practices. Literacy How’s step-by-step cognitive coaching model builds confidence and competence as teachers practice new methods of instruction. Through this collaborative relationship, we support teaching as a reflective process.

“Coaching is a strategy for implementing a professional support system for teachers, a system that includes research or theory, demonstration, practice, and feedback.”

—Walpole, M. & McKenna, S. (2008). The literacy coaching challenge: Models and methods for grades K-8. New York: The Guilford Press.

The WHY:

Our passion for helping teachers to teach every student to read

  • 95% of children can be taught to read
  • However, 65% of the Nation’s 4th graders read below grade level
  • Teachers are typically not taught how to teach reading
  • However, it is proven that teacher knowledge of effective literacy instruction strategies can override student disadvantages

Literacy How Mentors are subject matter experts in comprehensive literacy instruction. In their role as coaches, Mentors guide teachers and administrators on how best to translate and strategically implement their literacy knowledge in the classroom.

The HOW: Cognitive Coaching & Tools to Build Competence
& Confidence

“A coach is a teacher’s teacher. A coach accepts, understands, and addresses the real needs of adult learners in specific schools with the same unfailing, relentless, positive energy that our very best classroom teachers bring to their work with children.”

—Walpole, M. & McKenna, S. (2013).
The literacy coach’s handbook. New York: The Guilford Press

The purpose of mentoring and coaching is to help teachers develop knowledge, thought processes, and practices for teaching, assessing, and planning.

The knowledge of how to teach reading is not natural, intuitive, or easily acquired.  Literacy How Mentors meet teachers where they are in their beliefs, knowledge, and skills and provide them with the best evidence-based literacy practices and useful tools.

Literacy How Mentors focus on each individual’s strengths with an attitude of respect for the teaching profession. Through this collaborative relationship, our Mentors support teaching as a reflective process so that teachers become diagnostic and prescriptive in their instruction—understanding why and when to use specific methods, techniques, and activities.

Our Mentors use insight and listening skills to influence a teacher’s internal ideas, such as a readiness to change, that shape their external behaviors of teaching.

Literacy How Mentors use the research-based Cognitive Coaching (SM) model to plan, teach, reflect, and apply—building teachers’ confidence and competence as they practice new methods of instruction. Our Mentors guide teachers through the gradual release of responsibility process—I do-We do-You do.

Our Mentors model lessons, deliver workshops, support collection and analysis of data, reflect with teachers, grade level teams and principals.

Our Mentors respect and respond to each school’s unique climate.  As external literacy specialists, our goal is to become viable members of school teams.

The WHAT: Building Teacher Knowledge as the Foundation for Coaching

  • Teachers need knowledge of the science of reading and an understanding of how to put that knowledge into practice. Building expertise in literacy instruction is key.
  • Mentors are able to support teachers’ depth of knowledge with hands on methods, techniques, and activities they can use in their classroom.
  • Mentors provide a realistic roadmap to ensure student achievement through scope-and-sequences with clear curricular goals that guide seamless delivery of reading instruction across grade levels.
  • With coaching support, this knowledge is proven to translate into practice, transforming instruction and ensuring the success of students.
  • Professional development alone or even with practice, results in little to no transfer to the classroom, whereas peer coaching drives executive implementation up to 99% (Joyce and Showers, 2002)!

coaching Resources

Bean, R.M. & Ippolito, J. (2016). Cultivating coaching mindsets: An action guide for literacy leaders. Learning Sciences International.

Cornett, J. & Knight, J. (2009). Research on coaching. Coaching: Approaches and perspectives, 192-216.

Costa, A. L. & Garmston, R.J. (2015). Cognitive coaching: Developing self-direction leaders and learners. Rowman & Littlefield.

Hasbrouck, J. (2017). Student-focused coaching. Theory Into Practice 56(1), 21-28. 

Knight, J. (2009). CoachingJournal of Staff Development30(1), 18-22.

Walpole, S. & McKenna, M. (2013). The literacy coach’s handbook. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.