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Uncategorized   |   Jan 24, 2011

Instructional coaching resources

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Instructional coaching resources

By Angela Watson

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!


Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela is a National Board Certified educator with 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach. She started this website in 2003, and now serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Truth for Teachers...
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  1. Hi Angela,
    First of all, I enjoy your blog !
    I am into my second year as a Math Coach for our school division. I have 21 schools spread out over our large school division.
    I am searching for someone, or some book to give me the answers and lead me towards becoming an effective ‘coach’. I am still searching and I have discovered that I will need to be the one to share my journey. I just can’t find many great resources.
    * “The Math Coach Field Guide” was the best that I read.
    Please visit my blog: http://blogs.gssd.ca/smuir/
    This blog is a work in progress. I am also a member of the Powerful Learning Practice- Canadian Cohort. Here I have met other coaches and instructional consultants that seem to be on the same journey as I am:) We are learning together.
    Good Spirit School Division
    Yorkton, Saskatchewan

    1. Hi, Susan! I’m so sorry for the late reply–your comment wasn’t posted right away (I think WordPress identified it as spam because of the links.)

      Your website is fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing! You’ve got some great links in the sidebar, too. Thank you! I agree that there aren’t many great resources out there for coaches, so it’s up to us to pave the way! 🙂

  2. I’ve been compiling some of my own, as well! I am an achievement coach/instructional coach and here is what I’ve been reading:
    Instructional Coaching by Jim Knight
    The Literacy Coach’s Survival Guide, by Cathy Toll
    Help Teachers Engage Students (Annette Brinkmann)
    The Reading Coach: A How-To Manual For Success (Hasbrouck and Denton)

    I don’t know if they’re at your library, but I’ve been finding them to be useful~

  3. I’ve loved Instructional Coaching (Jim Knight). The Cathy Toll book was excellent for how to establish good rapport with teachers. Coaching is new to teachers in our district and it has been a struggle getting into classrooms and letting them know that I’m there as a resource for them…as a collaborator, as well. This year has been a journey but the 2 books I listed above have helped me survive. Any tips/suggestions?

    1. Hi, Jessica! Thanks for sharing your recommendations. I definitely plan to share more coaching info, tips, and resources in the future since there’s such a need.

  4. Hello! I stumbled upon your blog while searching for more info on instructional coaching. I have an interview on Friday for an Instructional Coach position in my school district. I have been teaching for 5 years and I am an active literacy leader at my school and within the district. If I get this job, I will be buying ALL the resources you recommended, because ICs are new to my district and I want to be the best I can possibly be. Do you have any info on interview questions that are typially asked of ICs?

    As a fellow blogger, I can’t wait to read more of your blogs! Check mine out, it’s not about work, it’s about my other passion, cooking…just for fun 🙂 whatannemakes.com

    Thanks for the info!

    1. Hi, Anne! Good luck at your interview! One question you should probably be prepared to answer is: “How would you respond to a teacher who is resistant to your suggestions and not open to improvement?” Not only is that a common question, it’s a common situation that IC’s face and worth thinking about!

      Your blog IS alot of fun–what great pictures and recipes! I especially like the pictures of people enjoying their food. The big fluffy pretzels look delicious!

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