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"When Do We Get to Read?" Reading Instruction and Literacy Coaching in a "Failed" Urban Elementary School

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From 2005-2009, the state determined that the Williams School had made no progress in raising its poor performance on the state English language arts test. In the fall of 2009, the state awarded literacy partnership grants to provide professional development to low-performing schools, and the Williams School partnered with our institution of higher education to 1) conduct a needs assessment to determine what teachers were doing in regard to reading comprehension instruction, 2) provide professional development to teachers in the form of literacy coaching, and 3) research the effectiveness of the professional development in changing teachers' instructional practices. The investigation sought to determine how professional development based on knowledge building, co-teaching, and coaching influences teachers' application of explicit comprehension instruction. Overall, results showed improvements in teachers' ability to engage in effective comprehension instruction. However, the qualitative evidence gathered as part of the investigation points to various challenges teachers faced in implementing specific aspects of comprehension instruction and the lack of opportunities students had for reading, some of which appear to be related to contextual factors in the school setting. The results highlight obstacles coaches, teachers, and students face in a low-performing, urban district and suggest possible directions for the future.
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Keywords: Literacy coaching; professional development; reading comprehension; social inequity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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  • Reading Improvement publishes reports and creative theoretical papers dealing with every aspect of reading improvement, and at all levels of instruction. Articles dealing with encoding and decoding, special education, handwriting, art, and literature in relation to K-12 are included in the sphere of interest. Preference is given to manuscripts that promise better understanding of reading and for improving the reading process.

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