Dimensions of Literacy Coaching With Head Start Teachers

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Plans to improve literacy instruction (N = 1,504) developed by teachers and early literacy experts in coaching sessions (N = 280) conducted in 31 Head Start classrooms were examined to describe a general trajectory of coaching with regard to content coverage, pedagogical emphasis (instructional material, teaching behavior), and progression (new, repeated, expanded plan). A secondary aim was to determine whether pedagogical emphasis and progression in improvement plans differed across four major literacy content areas (reading, writing, letter-word knowledge, phonological awareness). Overall, improvement plans (a) most frequently addressed children’s letter-word knowledge and least frequently addressed phonological awareness, (b) pertained to teaching behaviors to a greater extent than instructional materials, and (c) mostly focused on large group instruction. A majority of plans were new versus expansions or repeats of improvement plans developed in prior coaching sessions. There were significant differences in pedagogical emphasis and progression across four literacy content areas. Effect sizes were small to medium.