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Standards


Note: To purchase the PDF version of Standards 2010, click here.

Standards 2010 has been updated as of Spring 2018. To purchase a copy of Standards 2017, click here. The Standards 2017 FAQ can be found here.


Standards 2010: Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach

Reading Specialists/Literacy Coaches are professionals whose goal is to improve reading achievement in their assigned school or district positions. Their responsibilities and titles often differ based on the context in which they work, and their teaching and educational experiences. Their responsibilities may include teaching, coaching, and leading school reading programs. Reading Specialists/Literacy Coaches may also serve as a resource in reading and writing for educational support personnel, administrators, teachers, and the community, provide professional development based on historical and current literature and research, work collaboratively with other professionals to build and implement reading programs for individuals and groups of students, and serve as advocates for students who struggle with reading. Many of these professionals have a specific focus that further defines their duties, such as serving as a teacher for students experiencing reading difficulties, as a reading or literacy coach, as a coordinator of reading and writing programs at the school or district level, or in several combinations of these roles. Explanations for these roles follow:

  • The Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach may have primary responsibility for working with students who struggle with reading and may provide intensive, supplemental instruction to students who struggle with reading at all levels in pre-K–12. Such instruction may be provided either within or outside the students' classrooms. At times, these specialists may provide literacy intervention instruction designed to meet the specific needs of students, or instruction that enables them to meet the requirements of the classroom reading program, or both.
  • This specialist may have primary responsibility for supporting teacher learning. These professionals, often known as literacy or reading coaches, provide coaching and other professional development support that enables teachers to think reflectively about improving student learning and implementing various instructional programs and practices. Often, they provide essential leadership for the school's entire literacy program by helping and creating long-term staff development that supports both the development and implementation of a literacy program over months and years. Such work requires these specialists to work with individuals and groups of teachers (e.g., working with grade-level teams and leading study groups).
  • These specialists may have primary responsibility for developing, leading, or evaluating the school or district pre-K–12 reading and writing program. These professionals may assume some of the same responsibilities as the specialists who work primarily with teachers but have additional responsibilities that require them to work with systemic change at the school and district levels. These individuals need to have experiences that enable them to work effectively as coordinators and develop and lead effective professional development programs. As coordinators, they may work with special educators, psychologists, and various teachers to develop plans for meeting the needs of all students in the school (e.g., grouping arrangements, assessments, and instructional approaches).

For certification, a Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach Candidate must have the following:

  • A valid teaching certificate
  • Previous teaching experience
  • A master's degree with a concentration in reading and writing education
  • Program experiences that build knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to working with students, supporting or coaching teachers, and leading the school reading program
  • Typically, the equivalent of 21–27 graduate semester hours in reading, language arts, and related courses: The program must include a supervised practicum experience, typically the equivalent of 6 semester hours.

The supervised practicum experience should require working with students who struggle with reading, as well as collaborative and coaching experiences with teachers. Note: It is expected that candidates completing the Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach program will be at a novice or entry level of expertise (see Issues in Reading Education).

Note: The role of the Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach remains as one role because IRA expects to see evidence of both in this candidate: reading specialist and literacy coach.

Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge

Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach Candidates understand the theoretical and evidence-based foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction.

Elements Evidence that demonstrates competence may include, but is not limited to
1.1: Understand major theories and empirical research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and sociocultural foundations of reading and writing development, processes, and components, including word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading–writing connections.
  • Interpret major theories of reading and writing processes and development to understand the needs of all readers in diverse contexts.
  • Analyze classroom environment quality for fostering individual motivation to read and write (e.g., access to print, choice, challenge, and interests).
  • Demonstrate a critical stance toward the scholarship of the profession.
  • Read and understand the literature and research about factors that contribute to reading success (e.g., social, cognitive, and physical).
  • Inform other educators about major theories of reading and writing processes, components, and development with supporting research evidence, including information about the relationship between the culture and native language of English learners as a support system in their learning to read and write in English.
1.2: Understand the historically shared knowledge of the profession and changes over time in the perceptions of reading and writing development, processes, and components.
  • Interpret and summarize historically shared knowledge (e.g., instructional strategies and theories) that addresses the needs of all readers.
  • Inform educators and others about the historically shared knowledge base in reading and writing and its role in reading education.
1.3: Understand the role of professional judgment and practical knowledge for improving all students' reading development and achievement.
  • Model fair-mindedness, empathy, and ethical behavior when teaching students and working with other professionals.
  • Communicate the importance of fair-mindedness, empathy, and ethical behavior in literacy instruction and professional behavior.

Standard 2: Curriculum and Instruction

Candidates use instructional approaches, materials, and an integrated, comprehensive, balanced curriculum to support student learning in reading and writing.

Elements Evidence that demonstrates competence may include, but is not limited to
2.1: Use foundational knowledge to design or implement an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced curriculum. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the research and literature that undergirds the reading and writing curriculum instruction for all pre-K–12 students.
  • Develop and implement the curriculum to meet the specific needs of students who struggle with reading.
  • Support teachers and other personnel in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the reading and writing curriculum for all students.
  • Work with teachers and other personnel in developing a literacy curriculum that has vertical and horizontal alignment across pre-K–12.
2.2: Use appropriate and varied instructional approaches, including those that develop word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading–writing connections. [McKenna and Stahl (2009) define reading as including word recognition, language comprehension, and strategic knowledge (see the Glossary for their definition of cognitive model of reading).]
  • Use instructional approaches supported by literature and research for the following areas: concepts of print, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, critical thinking, motivation, and writing.
  • Provide appropriate in-depth instruction for all readers and writers, especially those who struggle with reading and writing.
  • Support classroom teachers and education support personnel to implement instructional approaches for all students.
  • As needed, adapt instructional materials and approaches to meet the language-proficiency needs of English learners and students who struggle to learn to read and write.
2.3: Use a wide range of texts (e.g., narrative, expository, and poetry) from traditional print, digital, and online resources.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and a critical stance toward a wide variety of quality traditional print, digital, and online resources.
  • Support classroom teachers in building and using a quality, accessible classroom library and materials collection that meets the specific needs and abilities of all learners. [Reading specialists may provide support through modeling, coteaching, observing, planning, and providing resources.]
  • Lead collaborative school efforts to evaluate, select, and use a variety of instructional materials to meet the specific needs and abilities of all learners.

 

Standard 3: Assessment and Evaluation

Candidates use a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading and writing instruction.

Elements Evidence that demonstrates competence may include, but is not limited to
3.1: Understand types of assessments and their purposes, strengths, and limitations.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the literature and research related to assessments and their uses and misuses.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of established purposes for assessing the performance of all readers, including tools for screening, diagnosis, progress monitoring, and measuring outcomes.
  • Recognize the basic technical adequacy of assessments (e.g., reliability, content, and construct validity).
  • Explain district and state assessment frameworks, proficiency standards, and student benchmarks.
3.2: Select, develop, administer, and interpret assessments, both traditional print and electronic, for specific purposes. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]
  • Administer and interpret appropriate assessments for students, especially those who struggle with reading and writing.
  • Collaborate with and provide support to all teachers in the analysis of data, using the assessment results of all students.
  • Lead schoolwide or larger scale analyses to select assessment tools that provide a systemic framework for assessing the reading, writing, and language growth of all students.
3.3: Use assessment information to plan and evaluate instruction.
  • Use multiple data sources to analyze individual readers' performance and to plan instruction and intervention.
  • Analyze and use assessment data to examine the effectiveness of specific intervention practices and students' responses to instruction.
  • Lead teachers in analyzing and using classroom, individual, grade-level, or schoolwide assessment data to make instructional decisions.
  • Plan and evaluate professional development initiatives using assessment data.
3.4: Communicate assessment results and implications to a variety of audiences.
  • Analyze and report assessment results to a variety of appropriate audiences for relevant implications, instructional purposes, and accountability.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate results of assessments to various audiences.

 

Standard 4: Diversity

Candidates create and engage their students in literacy practices that develop awareness, understanding, respect, and a valuing of differences in our society.

Elements Evidence that demonstrates competence may include, but is not limited to
4.1: Recognize, understand, and value the forms of diversity that exist in society and their importance in learning to read and write. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which diversity influences the reading and writing development of students, especially those who struggle with reading and writing.
  • Assist teachers in developing reading and writing instruction that is responsive to diversity.
  • Assist teachers in understanding the relationship between first- and second-language acquisition and literacy development.
  • Engage the school community in conversations about research on diversity and how diversity impacts reading and writing development.
4.2: Use a literacy curriculum and engage in instructional practices that positively impact students' knowledge, beliefs, and engagement with the features of diversity.
  • Provide differentiated instruction and instructional materials, including traditional print, digital, and online resources, that capitalize on diversity.
  • Support classroom teachers in providing differentiated instruction and developing students as agents of their own literacy learning.
  • Support and lead other educators to recognize their own cultures in order to teach in ways that are responsive to students' diverse backgrounds.
  • Collaborate with others to build strong home-to-school and school-to-home literacy connections.
  • Provide support and leadership to educators, parents and guardians, students, and other members of the school community in valuing the contributions of diverse people and traditions to literacy learning.
4.3: Develop and implement strategies to advocate for equity.
  • Provide students with linguistic, academic, and cultural experiences that link their communities with the school.
  • Advocate for change in societal practices and institutional structures that are inherently biased or prejudiced against certain groups.
  • Demonstrate how issues of inequity and opportunities for social justice activism and resiliency can be incorporated into the literacy curriculum.
  • Collaborate with teachers, parents and guardians, and administrators to implement policies and instructional practices that promote equity and draw connections between home and community literacy and school literacy.

Standard 5: Literate Environment

Candidates create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge, instructional practices, approaches and methods, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessments.

Elements Evidence that demonstrates competence may include, but is not limited to
5.1: Design the physical environment to optimize students' use of traditional print, digital, and online resources in reading and writing instruction.
  • Arrange instructional areas to provide easy access to books and other instructional materials for a variety of individual, small-group, and whole-class activities and support teachers in doing the same.
  • Modify the arrangements to accommodate students' changing needs.
5.2: Design a social environment that is low risk and includes choice, motivation, and scaffolded support to optimize students' opportunities for learning to read and write. [Reading specialists may have responsibilities for teaching students who struggle with learning to read and must also be able to support teachers in their efforts to provide effective instruction for all students.]
  • Create supportive social environments for all students, especially those who struggle with reading and writing.
  • Model for and support teachers and other professionals in doing the same for all students.
  • Create supportive environments where English learners are encouraged and given many opportunities to use English.
5.3: Use routines to support reading and writing instruction (e.g., time allocation, transitions from one activity to another; discussions, and peer feedback).
  • Understand the role of routines in creating and maintaining positive learning environments for reading and writing instruction using traditional print, digital, and online resources.
  • Create effective routines for all students, especially those who struggle with reading and writing.
  • Support teachers in doing the same for all readers.
5.4: Use a variety of classroom configurations (i.e., whole class, small group, and individual) to differentiate instruction.
  • Use evidence-based grouping practices to meet the needs of all students, especially those who struggle with reading and writing.
  • Support teachers in doing the same for all students.

 

Standard 6: Professional Learning and Leadership

Candidates recognize the importance of, demonstrate, and facilitate professional learning and leadership as a career-long effort and responsibility.

Elements Evidence that demonstrates competence may include, but is not limited to
6.1: Demonstrate foundational knowledge of adult learning theories and related research about organizational change, professional development, and school culture.
  • Use literature and research findings about adult learning, organizational change, professional development, and school culture in working with teachers and other professionals.
  • Use knowledge of students and teachers to build effective professional development programs.
  • Use the research base to assist in building an effective, schoolwide professional development program.
6.2: Display positive dispositions related to their own reading and writing and the teaching of reading and writing, and pursue the development of individual professional knowledge and behaviors. [This element deals with positive attitudes not only with colleagues but also with community members, parents and guardians, and so forth.]
  • Articulate the research base related to the connections among teacher dispositions, student learning, and the involvement of parents, guardians, and the community.
  • Promote the value of reading and writing in and out of school by modeling a positive attitude toward reading and writing with students, colleagues, administrators, and parents and guardians.
  • Join and participate in professional literacy organizations, symposia, conferences, and workshops.
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills.
  • Demonstrate effective use of technology for improving student learning.
6.3: Participate in, design, facilitate, lead, and evaluate effective and differentiated professional development programs.
  • Collaborate in planning, leading, and evaluating professional development activities for individuals and groups of teachers. Activities may include working individually with teachers (e.g., modeling, coplanning, coteaching, and observing) or with groups (e.g., teacher workshops, group meetings, and online learning).
  • Demonstrate the ability to hold effective conversations (e.g., for planning and reflective problem solving) with individuals and groups of teachers, work collaboratively with teachers and administrators, and facilitate group meetings.
  • Support teachers in their efforts to use technology in literacy assessment and instruction.
6.4: Understand and influence local, state, or national policy decisions.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of local, state, and national policies that affect reading and writing instruction.
  • Write or assist in writing proposals that enable schools to obtain additional funding to support literacy efforts.
  • Promote effective communication and collaboration among stakeholders, including parents and guardians, teachers, administrators, policymakers, and community members.
  • Advocate with various groups (e.g., administrators, school boards, and local, state, and federal policymaking bodies) for needed organizational and instructional changes to promote effective literacy instruction.

Reference

McKenna, M.C., & Stahl, K.A.D. (2009). Assessment for reading instruction (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.