In my free time, I’ve been devouring a stack of instructional coaching books (am I a huge dork with no life, or just incredibly driven and ambitious? The question is still up for debate, and right now I’m leaning towards…yessss). I chose the titles based on one factor and one factor only: whether they were available in my local public library. The six titles below are what they had, and I figured they were a good starting place as I decide which resources are worth purchasing. Most of my regular readers here on the blog are not instructional coaches, but I thought I’d share anyway in case you’re interested, and for the benefit of anyone Googling literacy coach resources (the pickings on that particular search are rather slim). Here’s my take:
Literacy Coaching: A Handbook for School Leaders (D. Moxley and R. Taylor). This book would probably be a useful resource for administrators and other school leaders who are seeking to implement literacy coaching in their schools. The resource wasn’t designed as a guide for coaches themselves, but I still learned a few things about building a literacy team and found it an interesting read. One caveat: I found the use of the term fail-safe literacy rather off-putting–I don’t like the implication that there any practices or approaches that are fail-safe, and I’m not sure it’s an appropriate goal for a coaching program. However, fail-safe is a term that would likely appeal to school leaders, and that’s the target audience here, so, well-played, I suppose.
Responsive Literacy Coaching: Tools for Creating and Sustaining Purposeful Change (Cheryl Dozier). I liked this book immediately because it’s written in first person. It’s very descriptive about what coaching looks like in practice, and the approach and techniques are well-grounded in the realities of classroom teaching. In my mind, sustaining purposeful change is the primary goal of coaching, and I appreciate that this book is unwavering in its focus.
The Literacy Coach’s Handbook: A Guide to Research-Based Practice (Sharon Walpole and Michael C. McKenna). The contents of this book are exactly what the subtitle describes: research-based. The info provides an important foundation on the theory behind what we’re doing and the implications for best practices. I gave this book a quick skim and moved on to practical guides.
Literacy Coaching: The Essentials (Katherine Casey). This book is far and away the most readable of the selection featured here and my hands-down favorite. Katherine Casey is incredibly down-to-earth, and I love how she shares all the mistakes she made as a new coach. I took notes on nearly every page because the guide was so practical and relevant.
A Guide to Literacy Coaching: Helping Teachers Increase Student Achievement (Annemarie B. Jay and Mary W. Strong). This book reads like a textbook, but it’s a solid resource with lots of interviews with experts in the field. The forms and figures were the most useful part for me.
Content-Focused Coaching: Transforming Mathematics Lessons (Lucy West and Fritz C. Staub). This is the only book I found at my local library on math coaching–all the rest were literacy-based. The cool thing about this one is the unique format: it includes CDs with video of actual coaching sessions that you can view on your computer. The book provides transcripts and analysis of the video interactions. That was soooo helpful for me since I’ve had very few opportunities to watch other coaches in action.
What instructional coaching books have YOU read? Share your favorite resources in the comments!