Differentiated Literacy Coaching: Scaffolding for Student and Teacher Success
Publication Type:Web Article
Year of Publication:2007
Kathie Marshall, a literacy coach in Los Angeles, says this book takes on questions about the role of literacy coaches in a “tightly structured, high[ly] readable model.” The book’s three parts give the history of literacy coaches, describes their many roles, and provides professional learning modules.
Citation: Moran, M.C. (2007). Differentiated literacy coaching: Scaffolding for teacher and student success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Mary Catherine Moran
2007 (183 pp./paperback)
$26.95 ($20.95 for members)
Reviewed by Kathie Marshall
Middle grades literacy coach
Los Angeles Unified School District
On the very first page of her well-organized and useful book, Differentiated Literacy Coaching: Scaffolding for Student and Teacher Success, author Mary Catherine Moran acknowledges what we veteran literacy coaches know: “The use of literacy coaches is not without controversy.”
As a matter of fact, although literacy coaches have been a part of my
district’s instructional plan for at least seven years now, even my own
union does not support my work as a coach! Chapter two of Differentiated Literacy Coaching focuses
on the question, Is there a research base that supports coaching? Moran
acknowledges there is “relatively little empirical evidence that
supports coaching tied to student achievement,” and yet nonetheless,
“policies and practices for coaching are being put in place on a
Where does that leave those of us in the coaching world -- instructional
coaches, content-focused coaches, literacy coaches, reading coaches,
peer coaches -- when, in truth, we can’t even agree on a term, much
less exactly what our expectations are for coaches? What qualifications
should we have? How should we be trained? What job responsibilities
should we share? How do coaches juggle the on-site demands that at
times conflict with district-level demands? How do we survive this very
complicated world of literacy coaching?
Mary Catherine Moran addresses each of these issues within a tightly
structured, high readable model that provides important background
information, a deeper look at the varied roles of literacy coaches, and
professional learning modules to support our work. This book is full of
illuminating information both for literacy coaches and the
administrators who work with them.
Part I provides the foundation for and history behind literacy coaching.
Author Moran provides the context for the sudden proliferation of
coaching and looks at the available relevant research. Part I ends with
reflective questions for discussion designed to support the growth of a
clearer, common understanding of the foundations of literacy coaching.
In Part II the author provides individual looks at the various “hats” worn
by literacy coaches, and does a nice job of showing the complexity of
the roles a coach must constantly switch between. These include
collaborative resource management, literacy content presentations,
focused classroom visits, co-planning, study groups, demonstration
lessons, peer coaching, and co-teaching. Each chapter delineates a
clear path for literacy coaches at all levels of expertise, with
subsections on the coach’s role, specifics of each coaching “hat,” and
when appropriate, further resources on the topic. Again, there are
reflective questions at the end of each chapter that can be explored to
good effect both by individual literacy coaches and their leaders.
Part III is an exceptional resource of professional learning modules for use
by administrators who supervise the training and support the work of
literacy coaches. Some of these step-by-step modules include a protocol
for data analysis, demonstration lessons, and focused classroom visits.
The book ends with a fairly extensive list of appendices to support
Would I recommend this book to other literacy coaches and their supervisors?
Let’s just say that very soon this book will be in the hands of my
supervisor, who already knows I’m pleased to provide her with a very
thought-provoking and substantive look at the complex world of literacy
coaching. Or whatever we’re called in your district!