Standards for Middle and High School Literacy Coaches

A Project of the International Reading Association (now the International Literacy Association)

In collaboration with National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teachers Association, and National Council for the Social Studies, and with support provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York

Adolescents today require high degrees of literacy in order to understand complex texts in a variety of media, covering a range of topics and subject areas. In recognition of this need, middle and high schools in the United States are turning increasingly to "literacy coaches" to lend their expertise and support to content area teachers who may not be confident in their knowledge of effective reading instruction.

Literacy coaching—a form of highly targeted professional development—can be a potent vehicle for improving reading skills. When well delivered, it includes features identified as part of effective professional development:

  • Grounded in inquiry and reflection
  • Participant driven and collaborative, involving knowledge sharing among teachers within communities of practice
  • Sustained, ongoing, and intensive

Standards for Middle and High School Literacy Coaches, prepared by IRA with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York and in collaboration with NCTE, NCTM, NSTA, and NCSS, outlines the ideal of what a literacy coach should know and be able to do—in delivering both leadership and support in individual content areas. It is offered as a blueprint not only for literacy coaches themselves, but for policymakers, school and district administrators, and teacher educators, in the hope that it will help support and develop coaching in ways that will most benefit adolescent learners.