Coaching to Improve Reading

This course focuses upon the all-important coaching relationship in improving student reading achievement. Seven components of successful reading programs are the foundation of reading achievement: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing about the reading, and content area reading skills. 
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Coaching to Improve Reading


Check out what other teachers from your area and across the country are saying about this course.

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I have learned about the Big Four and have been able to remember it because of the way it was explain as a stool which I think is great. I like to take that kind of information and putting it with a picture to help more students remember what I was talking about and a quick way to remember it. I have heard of the seven components of reading achievement but never really listen but I did learn more about them during this class than I had before. I like learning about the different elements and strategies for teaching parts of reading. I think that is what I am going to get most use out of this class because I am working on my degree to teach lower grade levels where that information is need. I like how vocabulary was defined in three categories and when I am working with my students in the future I want to try and explain what kind of vocabulary we are looking at that time. The seven strategies for improving comprehension I also found to be great information that I will take with me in the future classrooms. I did learn some new thing and saw things I have already learn which got reinforced so I feel like this has been an ok learning experience. (AR)


After learning, teaching, and reflecting on this course, I know that my students have benefited greatly. I have incorporated changes in order to help students feel confident in reading. I have learned how to hold appropriate conferences with a colleague that is focused on reflection rather than evaluation. Our conferences are prompt, and we each come to the meetings prepared. During each meeting, we have learned the importance of focusing on one standard. When analyzing this standard, our lessons then focused on an enduring understanding rather than teaching specific facts about a topic. Our students now repeat the enduring understanding of the lesson (objective) at the beginning and end of the lesson. Throughout the course, I have gained more knowledge about incorporating vocabulary into pre-reading. In order to grab the attention of our younger students, we have prepared lessons with picture clues that correlate to key vocabulary. It is important that we continue to brainstorm and reflect upon new/used ways for students to understand key vocabulary. Vocabulary will thus help decode words in a reading. Along with vocabulary, I have learned that incorporating different reading resources for students to access can also encourage confidence in reading. Students now have access to environmental print, common signs, magazine pictures, and Weekly Readers in the classroom. When students are engaged in a reading choice, data shows they are more likely to continue reading or gain a ‘want’ to read more. After learning that data drives future instruction, as well as my intentional best teaching strategies, I am more confident in my ability to teach a lesson’s enduring understanding. With self-reflection and data driven results, I know I can reach my students in a more effective way. It is important I continue to try new strategies, self-reflect with a colleague, and decipher what about my teaching strategy worked well or needs improvement. Self-reflection plays an extremely important role in coaching to reading improvement. Specific questions from coach-to-coach also helps guide reflection and development. I have learned so much in this course. I have used so much of what I have learned in my current classroom. Our conferences will continue to progress throughout the year and we anticipate we will see great reading progress in our students. We truly want to see our students gain a confidence and a love for reading! (CA)

One of the key learnings for me was the wonderful coaching relationship that I was able to build with another teacher. This helped me to better develop effective lessons that concentrated on what I wanted all the students to know, understand and be able to do after the lesson. Also, another key learning was using the different strategies, for example; the Big Four, promoting and sustaining student engagement, asking essential questions, and developing and using effective and meaningful assessments to enhance student learning by measuring their enduring understanding. In short, using best practices has raised my level of teaching. I look forward to continuing my coaching relationship so we can help each other be more effective teachers. (CA)

I learned many things from this course, at just the right time! I just began working with students with special needs, and am so thankful to be focusing more on teaching reading. Some key learning that I have been applying as follows: 1) The importance of sticking to my main objective to obtain enduring understanding. 2) The importance of pre-and post-reading activities to set the stage for relevant learning. 3) Asking guiding questions to my students as well as during coaching conferences and last, to always save time for closure! Thank you for such a well-planned course! (CA)

I have gained insight into how to get closer to and help my peers get closer to best practice by focusing lessons and coaching sessions on enduring understanding and by always focusing on providing students with in depth reading practices. In addition, to maintaining clear standards, we must ensure that what students read is directly tied to enduring knowledge and understanding. We also need to engage students through meaningful context and ensure that the task is meaningful and relevant and allows students to engage in meaning-making success. In addition, it is important to use essential questions and set purposes for reading. I will also make use of the before, during and after format when planning my lessons and will include the Big Four Daily to make sure that I provide my students with a well-rounded reading curriculum. I will also make use of the Cloze Procedure to make sure that the curriculum is at my students’ level of performance because what I will be teaching is the enduring knowledge and the text will be a vehicle to reach my objective and to make sure that the student outcome is met. (CA)

I found the coaching process as taught in this class to be very helpful. In the often incredibly busy and challenging world of education, it is easy to get distracted from what is important, such as enduring understandings and student outcomes. Learning and practicing a formalized coaching process is a useful tool that allows us to focus on our practice and learn from other teachers as well as from our students. Additionally, I found it very useful to think about the reading process from the seven essentials of reading achievement, the Big Four, and the Before, During, and After activities. As a high school teacher, I sometimes fell into the trap of thinking students already know how to read, so I don’t need to explicitly teach skills. This course allowed me to rethink that and to realize that it is my responsibility to teach reading skills. The course also provided me with techniques and practices to effectively teach reading skills. Overall, the coaching experience and direct reading instruction strategies that I learned in this course will be very valuable to me as I continue to strive toward best practices in teaching. I am eager to share these strategies in my department and across my school site as well. (CA)

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I learned many new things in this course and some were about reading and others about coaching. I teach reading to students that are far below grade level. One of the best things I learned was making sure that students understand the enduring understanding of what I am teaching. I teach a curriculum that is completely scripted and because of that I have gotten in the habit of just following along. I now take responsibility for what I am teaching and make sure that the student outcomes are clear along with the enduring understandings. I am adding the writing about reading to my practice (even though it isn’t in the curriculum) after the break. I am in charge of the special education department at my school. I usually get to mentor the new teachers. Since we have district coaches, my mentoring usually is reserved to IEPs and IEP meetings. I plan to use some of the coaching techniques when talking about IEP meetings. Some of the same things apply like reflecting about the meeting, what we want parents to know, and how can we support students and help them be successful. This course helped me think more about my planning and also talking with others in my department about planning. Some of the norms like not passing judgment on a lesson and eye contact were really helpful even though they seem like simple things. I gained so much from this class. Not only was I able to make immediate changes in my own practice, I shared what I learned with my peers. (CO)

The shift in education and the amount of responsibility and accountability has required teachers to rethink and learn new teaching strategies. In order to make this shift successful, the teacher needs significant support. Peer Coaching is an effective way to provide support for peer teachers. Peer tutoring is directing coaches to assist teachers’ best practices. Teachers supporting teachers is an effective way to utilize resources. This course came in a timely manner as our school required teachers be involved with peer tutoring. The success of the Peer Coaching is important and taken seriously in our district. The administration provided Peer Coaching training school-wide. We were provided guidelines, allowed to select our partner, and developed an action plan. The district committed to hiring a full time substitute hired to sub for the peer coaching sessions. All teachers were required to participate. The skills were given as an overview, then in depth from this course were skills that ensured success of the Peer Coaching program. Relationship and trust are critical elements of effective communication and are crucial to the coaching process. Some of the guidelines we have learned to include in peer coaching are listening and maintaining respect, concentrating on what is observed directly and refrain from giving advice. The relationship between coach and coachee is a respectful and clear. Being on time, being professional, using guiding questions rather than giving advice is the intent. In fact, a meeting prior to observations is required to develop personal guidelines for respect and expectations. The role of the coach is to focus on behavior, listen and maintain respect and rapport, use data to guide coaching interaction, use a reasonable amount of information that is helpful to a teacher, concentrate on what is observed directly, be respectful, be timely and keep emotions in check. These guidelines were helpful in keeping our coaching sessions on track and professional. The focus on the course is reading. This course was helpful for me as I am a special education teacher, specializing in reading. While my strength is reading knowledge, I consider my target area as working with teachers in this area. The class was helpful in that it took the focus off of me and my skills to guiding the teacher to recognize her own strengths. The class was set up to include the seven essential reading skills; phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, writing about the reading and reading in the content area. Pre and Post Coaching conferences include such questions as: What did you want students to know, understand and do as a result of this lesson? Did the students attain the objective? What evidence do you have that the learned? How will students apply what they learned? What would you have done if the students struggled with concept? Having students read their own sentences helped them to hear good models and to practice fluency. How will you monitor those who do not share their sentences. Of course the real focus is on student learning, defined as Enduring Understandings, those critical concepts and/or skills that all students must know, understand, and be able to do in a particular lesson, unit, course or time frame. Expected student outcomes is critical information from the lesson that the student is able to understand and transfer to another skill. Therefore, the enduring understanding objective is determined and the focus of the lesson. Student engagement is a focus during a coaching session. All students need to participate in order to derive meaning from text. Activities that were included during our sessions and throughout the course, are activities designed to engage students in Learning. Some activities include; Think Pair Share, Numbered Heads Together, Reciprocal Teaching, I have…Who has, cooperative learning, asking all students to summarize, checking for understanding and restating. Teacher behaviors that contribute to students’ learning were listed in the course work and worth noting in its entirety: Use best practices in reading in the content areas; • Practice the different reading demands of specific subject areas and design lessons to assist students’ abilities to read in content areas, with special emphasis upon reading rate; • Demonstrate how enduring understanding, student engagement, student outcomes, and teacher behaviors that cause learning to happen are foundational to every subject and to the coaching interaction; • Design and use essential questions in reading instruction and in coaching; • Demonstrate the four components of reading instruction to plan for in every class, especially content area instruction: reading with and to students, vocabulary/decoding, comprehension, and writing about the reading; • Differentiate instruction based upon enduring understanding, while varying difficulty and complexity of content that is read; • Distinguish between effective and ineffective lessons/instructional episode/practices; • These behaviors are best practices and my reading partner was actively practicing this skills. It was exciting to share this section and the coarse work with her. Before, During and After was especially a practice we were aware of and made a conscious effort to practice daily. Teaching vocabulary effectively was an area that I struggled with. My coach is going to guide me into conscious instruction. Finally, assessment needs to be addresses since the objective is enduring learning. How do we know if enduring learning has occurred? How do we measure enduring learning? What are the student outcomes? and What do we do with the data once we have it? Authentic assessment is defined as data concerning performance in real life situations, which reflect knowledge and understanding compared to identify standards. Questions used to guide the teacher in identifying what skills are essential are: “What should ALL students know, understand, and be able to do as a result of today’s lesson? Why is it important that the students know these things? When they leave class today, what should all students take with them? What evidence will tell you that they know and understand the objective?” (CO)

This course was a nice review. I have a Master’s Degree in Reading Instruction, but it never hurts to come back to concepts and read different points of view. My biggest take-away from this course was beginning to really reflect upon how I currently run my reading block in my 2nd grade classroom. I use the Daily 5 approach as a foundation (although it is more like a weekly 5). I have five leveled groups and meet with one group a day. I have parent volunteers and para-educators that also meet with each group 1-2 times per week. Students participate in read to self, read to others (they read their 3-5 sentence summaries aloud), word work, listening to reading, and they work on writing daily. My biggest area of reflection is on my guided reading groups. When I meet with a group we read our previous responses aloud, do a picture walk for our book of the day, make oral predictions and have a discussion, read the book aloud, discuss vocabulary, characters, main idea, etc. and then write our summaries. I know Round Robin reading is frowned upon, but I am wondering if it is okay in a small group of readers who are reading at the same level? Otherwise, I don’t know how to keep everyone in the group at the same pace, occupied with something meaningful, and to get to hear every child read weekly. Another big take away from this course was the importance of fluency. My school district recently switched over to iReady Reading Assessments. These assessments are completed on a computer by each student. The computer than analyzes the data collected and gives us a score. In the past, we would sit and read with students using the DRA2 to determine their reading level. One element that is missing from the iReady is fluency. There is no score and I do not hear the children read as they take the test. I am reflecting on how I can make that a more important focus during our book clubs, and am contemplating making that a role of the parent volunteers that come in (versus meeting with a whole group, perhaps they can meet with just one child at a time). There are so many important facets of reading and writing, and I appreciate the opportunity to revisit them in this course. (CO)

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This online course gave me great insight to coaching to improve learning. First and foremost, I believe that building relationships with the person you are mentoring will always be the most important aspect. I appreciate the emphasis on building relationships, encouraging teachers, and listening to understand. Additionally, I found the information on best practices helpful. Regardless of the subject area, knowing how a teacher can be most effective in their classroom is a key to success. The lessons on vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension were great refreshers on the importance of teaching students to be confident readers and thinkers. Lastly, I look forward to my first job as a reading, writing, or data coach in my school district. (FL)

I have learned an amazing amount of information in this class. I have copied numerous printables and will use them in classes. I especially found helpful the units on vocabulary and writing. I think that’s where I have been lacking as a Reading teacher, in these two areas. I am going to incorporate journals in this summer session for writing in response to the day’s novel reading. I am also going to preview vocabulary and work with it daily. It’s been a very informative class. I have a lot of notes to refer back to and utilize the information in them. (FL)

I think the greatest concept I learned in the course is how to utilize enduring knowledge. Since learning what it means to teach something enduring, I have centered all of my lessons around it so that learning becomes a more lasting impression for my students. Another key principle I learned in the course is incorporating the use of data into my lesson-building. Building lessons from data helps to guide me in my instruction. It also helps me when differentiating my lessons, because it allows me to pinpoint readiness levels. Additionally, it was of good use to learn how to build a strong relationship built on trust, professionalism, and mutual respect with your coach so that you can receive objective criticism and guidance toward your best teaching practices. It’s definitely worthwhile to know how to give and receive criticism and how to learn how to reflect on your lessons for the sake of self-improvement. Also, having learned the importance of teaching vocabulary and reading comprehension on a school-wide basis, I have taken initiative to communicate more effectively with other reading and language arts teachers on the matter. In the future I will employ better use of the “before, during, and after” reading strategies in my lessons while coordinating common language vocabulary with the rest of the department so that it is consistent throughout the school. (FL)

I learned the coaching roles/elements. Even though they seem to be common sense, I am a ‘lister” and this list makes it easy to remember and stay focused on them while coaching. I learned about the 4 components to increase student success, and as I stated above, the list I wrote down makes it a nice reference. I learned what enduring understanding really is and that it is important because it applies to cross curricular content areas. Listing the effective use of language will help me remain professional during coaching sessions. The redundancy of the coaching questions in all the videos cemented them for me. This was truly a nice session. Taking this course should be a requirement for all faculty. (FL)

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The Big 4 is an essential part of teaching students to read and to read well. We need to read with the students and to the students and model that if you can read then a huge world opens up to you. We have to make sure the students understand the vocabulary words in the text and how to decode the words and comprehend what they’ve read. Without comprehension, reading is just a chore, but if you comprehend what you read then you can be swept away to many places without ever leaving your chair. I believe that students will gain far more understanding of what they have read when they write in their own words a summary. The teacher can quickly see if they comprehend. I will definitely use this practice daily with my students. (GA)

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As I reflect on this course and what I learned to take forward from here, I realize that much of what was discussed and modeled I do already as a literature teacher. However, there were concepts and strategies about what and how elementary students learn before coming to me in middle school. I also realized the importance of having a laser focus on the goal I set and the enduring understandings the students will have as they leave my room and move to other academic areas. In addition, I will make a more concerted effort to ensure those teachers in the other content areas are also focused on that as the outcome. I gained much to bring back to our SIP team, as well as our content-area and grade-level teams. (IL)

There were many things that I learned throughout this course about instructing reading, and using collaboration to improve the instruction. The key learning that stands out the most is the enduring understanding of essential of effective learning. For example, inference, summarizing, questioning… I will also continue to collaborate with my colleagues to provide effective instructional lessons, and reflecting on the outcomes to make improvements. (IL)

Key concepts of which all my reading efforts will be based upon regarding reading instruction will include the following components: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing about reading and reading in content areas. Keeping ever mindful of these components, my lessons will incorporate enduring understanding concepts and components to achieve goals and standards. Additionally, I have gained incredible insight to how crucial the coaching process is to the success of the program(s). By collaborating and guiding others in a positive, productive manner, students will reap the benefit(s) as I will be able to share and draw upon other’s talents, skills and abilities. Guided questions, data analysis and action planning are now part of my planning repertoire for better reading intentional Best Practice. The potential in using coaching techniques will have a far reaching, positive effect on a larger student population as well. Setting mutual guidelines and meeting times will be key in order to continue to serve the student body. Making sure my verbal and nonverbal communication is positive and inviting will help colleagues and students. Most importantly is to come back to the enduring understanding of what students will know, understand and be able to do is crucial in all reading lessons based upon goals and standards. Additionally, to have feedback on lessons and data to analyze success will be instrumental in future lessons. I gained much from this course in regards to how collaborative this process is from inception to completion. Much of the Best Practice techniques I was already implementing and I am excited to continue the coaching/collaborating experience with my colleagues and district administration. (IL)

I have enjoyed this course because I would like to be a literacy coach in the future. This course was valuable to me as it taught me the methods and processes I would go through as a coach. My key learnings from this course were the Big 4 and the enduring understandings. I will absolutely use both of these in my practice because of this course because they are beneficial to effective instruction. This course also had me thinking about methods of data collection for ease and efficiency in the classroom and a way for a teacher to quickly assess understandings at the moment (rather than waiting until the next lesson). (IL)

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One of the things that has stuck out to me the most is asking those essential questions. Asking myself what I want students to be able to do or to learn, really helps me to focus in, like an arrow to a bull’s eye. Realizing that I am not teaching a story, but a reading skill is new for me. I have so many new ideas for next year. As an interventionist who sees students from all grade levels, one thing I plan to do for the intermediate groups, is to start the year out teaching them skills to be successful back in their classroom in all subject. I will work on reading skills in math, social studies, and science, as well as reading. I see that the vocabulary is huge also. I really feel that a plan for school-wide vocabulary would be so beneficial to all of the students and teachers. I also realize the importance in communicating with my colleagues, and to try to find more opportunities to observe other classrooms. I plan to talk to my administrator about finding a way to help all teachers have time to observe others. I feel that this class has helped me tremendously. (IN)

This class has taught me more about how to engage readers as well as help guide fellow teachers to that point. I have learned that the old ways of round robin reading and rote memorization of vocabulary words are ineffective. Instead, applying prior knowledge and forcing students to think critically will help students to grow as readers. I will definitely use more checks while reading in all of my classes. I will also make sure each lesson and each day I will work toward enduring understanding. Having a better, clearer goal of enduring understanding before I start will guide me in my planning in order to connect to prior knowledge. (IN)

The course has helped me look at my reading instruction and to use the coaching process to improve in many different areas. I learned about the Seven Components of Effective Reading Achievement and Effective Reading Instruction. These components offer a way to ensure that all students are receiving effective reading instruction. I think I found the question strategies from the coaching sessions the most valuable in improving my reading instruction. The idea of planning each lesson based on an enduring understanding and asking what we want are students to know helps each lesson be focused and meaningful. I was not sure that I would find a coaching relationship helpful, but I found that it really encouraged me to look at how I was delivering instruction to students. (IN)

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Our district has been utilizing PLC’s (professional learning communities) with our grade level teams for 2 years. It was a shaky start, as most “new” things are, but it has really helped us do what is best for children. This class fits right into that! We have been working together to align the common core and ensure best practices. That can only be improved by planning, observing and coaching each other. I began this class in March and my team has been coaching each other ever since. I think we would all agree that we are better teachers and partners because if it. I think the most helpful thing for me was really taking a look at the enduring understanding I wanted from my students for each lesson I teach in my classroom, as well as how I will know if they have it and what to do when they don’t. I noticed in many of the videos that the teachers stated their objective for each lesson. We have been concentrating on using, displaying and making sure our students are aware of the purpose for each activity. This has really helped to guide our teaching. I also found the sections on differentiation to be very helpful. I’ve always felt that kindergarten has the widest range of reading abilities and I know I am the first one to introduce reading strategies to many of my kiddos, but being reminded that the same enduring understanding can be accomplished at their individual levels was helpful. (IA)

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This is my second year teaching kindergarten so I felt this course offered me a great insight on how to approach early literacy skills and what I need to be doing to make sure every lesson is effective. I had time to evaluate what my strengths/weaknesses were with a partner and develop plans of action for both areas. I liked being able to talk and pick apart a lesson with someone else. My partner helped see things within the lesson that I might not notice. Her constructive criticism made me think about my lessons in a more precise manner. The one piece of this class that really interested me was Lesson 5- vocabulary. This is such a vital piece in our kdg. curriculum and within our reading program. This course offered me an in depth look at pre-teaching skills and what effective/ineffective strategies will work. I immediately started using complete sentences with student feedback. It tied directly with our language/writing components that we had already been working on. I also brought up the idea of building-wide vocabulary that would be consistent for all grade levels. My principal is going to let our staff have some discussion time with this when we return in August. Lesson 8 was a great reminder that all these basic skills are covered in all curriculum. I used cause/effect with my class in our last science unit over plants. Having already taught the concept in reading made it easy for the kids to use it in science. Pointing this out to the class made the connection even stronger for them to see it is used everyday. I also liked the data collection piece that my partner provided me with. I could ask her to be looking for specific things to observe and she would review her findings with me at our meeting. I was surprised with some of her data. It showed I tended to call on my higher level kids first and I needed to be giving more wait time for a student was really shy and struggled with public speaking. Those findings help make me a better teacher and apply a lot more to my lessons. This course has encouraged me to speak to my principal about implementing a school wide coaching program for all teachers willing to give it a try. It is a great way to share all of our expertise and help each other become better teachers. We have staff development time in August planned to address this. During one of our PLC meeting, I shared with my kdg. team information from lesson 4- fluency. We all seem to struggle some with how to approach fluency with kindergarteners. Everyone has a different take on it. Specifically we took interest in the part about taped versions of materials. We all needed a refresher on how to properly have that in our rooms. We needed to take the time to use these for enduring knowledge and understandings. I needed to be able to stop the tape and check for understanding before going on and setting the purpose for reading/listening. I feel that I am walking away from this class with a better understanding of how I can improve my students reading skills and be an effective teacher. The course offered the positive elements of coaching and what it can bring for both partied involved. My partner and I shared many laughs over her observations from kindergarten. Those helped create a bond between us that will continue next year. (KS)

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I have really enjoyed this class because being a quality teacher is essential to me. I love using the best practices so that I may help my students and my colleagues. Using the Big 4 and Before, During, and After to help guide students and teachers is essential is remaining focused on essential lessons. Students and teachers must know what is important to learn so they must be guided with what is real enduring understanding by consistently referring to guided essential questions. Another area that primarily focuses on me as a coach is that I must carefully and professionally guide my colleagues in keeping our kids first. Teachers must realize that by modeling to them what essential questions and effective lessons look like, will prepare them. I am a hands on learn in painfully ways. I have to see what is expected from me; I cannot expect anything differently from colleagues who depend on me for guidance. By showing how to keep students engaged in meaningful lessons with best practices, teachers will then be able to fine tune their craft. I have been able to reflect on my own teaching skills and this class has prompted me to remain focused and not be afraid to tweak my own methods and to purpose to be a gentle guide and not a judge for my colleagues. (KY)

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For me, the coaching process is an experiential thing, where understanding comes not from possessing a bank of knowledge but from applying that knowledge to the mutual development of myself and my colleagues’ reflective practice. Also, the phrase, “struggling readers are not struggling thinkers” encapsulates my perspective so well that I’ve posted it above the door of my classroom. The idea that literal questions are more challenging than those requiring inference fundamentally changes the way I approach reading comprehension. This course also gave me a new perspective on reading in content areas, and how different modes of reading are applicable to different disciplines. Most of all, though, I appreciated the videos, and anticipate using the activities in my own classroom. (MD)

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When my department chair came to us last year and told us that one of our goals would be to help our students improve their reading, I think the entire department’s collective answer was, “but, we teach Social Studies, not reading.” Obviously, we know that reading is a very large component of our courses, but actually TEACHIING the skills was not something that we have previously incorporated. Rather, we have assumed students had reading comprehension, and if they struggled, we would notify our “reading specialist” so they could help. This course has taught me that I can teach social studies AND reading at the same time without giving up content for either. It has enlightened me on appropriate ways to do this. The idea that I should preteach vocabulary in a way other than a word search or crossword is not new. This, to me, always seemed a waste of time. But, the understanding of the Big Four will help me when planning my daily lessons. Preteaching vocabulary, reading WITH the students and TO the students so they have an understanding of how they should read technical information, having them read to each other and answer questions to demonstrate comprehension, and then making sure I have a follow-up activity such as a writing journal will be part of my daily classroom environment from this moment forward. I look forward to working with my co-worker to implement a coaching relationship next year. He seems to be excited about it as well. We have already created lessons that we can use, and just talking about it is exciting! I am looking forward to it! (MI)

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This course has been very beneficial in clarifying the importance of how having a good coaching relationship and effective reading lessons and how they go hand-in-hand. I will be working closer and harder with colleagues to have an open line of communication without judgement and to focus on the lesson at hand and the students understanding through data collection and assessment. Making sure that the questions being asked focus on both the strengths and weaknesses so that we can build upon our best intentional practices. (MT)

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The key learnings that I will use in my practice as a result of this coaching course are that it is essential to learning to make sure children have an enduring understanding. It is important to teach all of the Reading Street stories, however the children need to be able to apply the concepts that you are teaching to them in other content areas. It is also important to evaluate and assess all lessons to make sure that the enduring understanding is accomplished. It is essential as a teacher to self reflect in the form of journals and meetings with team members. Teaching reading can come in a variety of forms that I will continue to use or change the way I am using in the classroom. I will continue to do cold reads, oral reading fluency checks, stretching and blending of words, understanding key concepts of what they are reading, and many other topics. I have thoroughly enjoyed this class as a professional and look forward to applying it to future years. (OH)

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I have truly enjoyed this course because I feel that the information learned has such great value that applies not only to reading, but to building a successful academic learning experience. I have taken away many great inspirations from this class, but the three that grabbed me the most were; enduring understandings, “I can” and “I can read” and finally building common language and vocabulary. To understand what enduring understandings are, will in itself make you a better teacher. It’s something that we all take for granted and something that we don’t talk about or define. However, it’s one of the most essential pieces of knowledge that a teacher can impart to his/her students. I loved the video with the department chairs and they were discussing what enduring understandings mean. It’s clear that it is a hard concept to grasp because we all want to focus on the details and facts. However, to give students the ability to understand HOW to learn and HOW to gather information and then to subsequently know what to do with it is a gift. “I can” and “I can read”…These two phrases really struck me because it really empowers the struggling student which is so important. I am as guilty as any teacher when I say that the struggling students are always the ones that feel that they “can’t” and often times teachers may not effectively convey to that student that they can succeed. Struggling students, like all of us, need constant positive energy and support. By letting them know that they can do anything, you are boosting confidence in more ways than you probably know. Finally I loved the section about having common language and vocabulary that all teachers use throughout the school across all grades. To be honest this was not something that I had thought much about, yet it makes such perfect sense. These three practices are things that I am going to take to my teaching team and discuss during this next school year. It can only benefit me, the teachers around me and most importantly, the students. (OR)

If I were to boil down the key learnings from this course, it would be two E’s: Essential questions and Enduring understanding. Both of these tools can be used in the coaching relationship as well as lesson planning. I can already see how the concept of enduring understanding is impacting my lesson planning. Often it is small changes or adjustments to a lesson, other times it is a total re-do in order to help students reach the chosen standard as well as knowledge that will last far beyond my classroom. The essential questions will assist me in my own lesson planning, but also as I coach other colleagues. These questions will help us to use best practices as we employ the components of reading success in multiple grades and content areas. (OR)

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South Carolina

I have learned many things during this course. I have learned the importance of teaching an enduring knowledge. I have learned many effective methods of communication in coaching to create a positive goal oriented atmosphere. The focus of the coaching meetings need to be best intentional practice based on the students’ assessment and not opinions. Coaching partners need to discuss what methods are effective and what aren’t based on student feedback. Being respectful and encouraging is an important part of any coaching relationship. I learned different reading strategies. Setting the purpose before the lesson, engaging the students and authentic assessment are essential. The course discussed effective methods such as, writing about reading. It also addressed ineffective methods such as Red Robin reading. I will definitely use the methods of communication for coaching in my future. I think this course helped me reflect on my own lessons and make an effort to teach enduring concepts using best proven methods for reading. (SC)

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Enduring Understandings: critical concepts/skills all students must know/understand and able to do in a particular lesson or unit. I will focus on what is most important to load into the mental hard drive that result in independent readers skills for my students Student Outcomes: data concerning performance in real life which reflects knowledge/understanding compared with identified standard I will teach with intentionality clear targets that accurately measure performance critical to determine rate of student learning. Student Engagement: what should all students know/understand and be able to do I will use active participation strategies that involve all students which reveals what they know/understand about the lesson. Teacher Behaviors: Bottom Line-Did students learn? I will reflect on how my instruction decisions have led to student learning and constantly monitor and evaluate. (TN)
I am so glad I had the opportunity to take this course. Coaching is a new concept for me but I have had two very positive sessions as coach and feel quite confident undertaking this role after reading through the material and watching the helpful videos. Also, being on the other side is not something to be anxious about. Using the coaching guidelines, I feel more comfortable and prepared for sessions where I am being observed and coached. Watching the coaching interactions on video taught me that the session is an opportunity for growth where two professionals can benefit from feedback. With an appropriate amount of data, one can learn so much from the lesson taught and what to do different in future lessons. I have always felt that it is very important to be on the “same page” as a department and as a school. This course has motivated me to want to develop more of a common bond through reading. Reading is important in every subject so why not link us together in our different subjects through a reading initiative that increases reading levels and success among our students. (TN)

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The most important objectives for this course are to teach my students two things: I can and I can read. I do honestly believe that all kids can be successful. I will apply these “I can and I can read” into my classroom by making a banner on my door with all my students’ names and the words colorfully and boldly declaring that “I can” and “I can read” will guide those students into a bright future where they can read to learn how to do anything. I will also work with my fellow teachers by implementing many of the coaching guidelines (such as open, honest, eye contact, respect, data driven, asking questions) in our discussions. I will also continue my life-long learning by being open to new ideas and implementing school wide ideas such as a common list of test/quiz reading vocabulary so that there is more consistency throughout the school. I will also use the before, during and after reading suggestions in my reading lessons, too! This was a helpful class even though I worked on it individually I learned many things that will help me in my practice. (TX)

I think the most important take-away in the course is how to teach reading across all content areas. As we use specific strategies to guide students through reading, they can learn content and also improve their reading skills. I also learned that becoming a good reader is not an accident. Students can learn to become good readers are they are guided by the best intentional practices of their teachers. I loved learning about how to effectively coach others using guiding questions and data. As i plan lessons in the future, I will be structuring every lesson around “The Big Four” and encouraging my teachers to do the same. I think this simple strategy will greatly improve learning across all contents. (TX)

I am taking with me quite a few keys that will help me in the classroom. The first one, and probably the most important, is the essential questions. I know I need to work harder on it but I’m willing to do it as it benefit my practice and furthermore my students. I have already started when planning with my grade-level colleagues, as well as designing assessments to track student progress. I will also take with me the different ways, and better than that the importance, of teaching phonics skills which is a must among ELL students. It was also useful to learn about how important it is to help and encourage students to develop reading skills to be successful readers no matter the subject. Key strategies like comparing and contrasting skills, predicting, synthesizing, summarizing, and inferring will be for sure a staple around my class. I’ve also learned about the importance of coaching and the keys to effective collaboration with our partners/coaches/mentees. (TX)

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As a result of this coaching course, I have a deeper appreciation and better understanding of the coaching relationship, the idea of enduring understanding, and the idea of intentional best practice. During this course, I was able to learn more about these three ideas. My coaching partner and I found our time together to be rewarding. We both learned how to plan for an effective and positive coaching experience. We learned strategies that have helped us become better at teaching and coaching. We will continue working together. I also have a better understanding of enduring understandings. I see how important it is to know the difference from teaching facts and details and teaching ideas that have a lasting value that goes beyond the classroom. I am better at answering the question “What is it I really want my students to learn?” This has helped me plan more engaging lessons. Even though, I always use essential questions, I never used enduring understandings. This is something that I will start doing. I also will continue to focus on intentional best practice. I have learned to use questions to guide my partner and myself toward decisions that will lead to intentional best practice. (VA)

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As a result of this class, I have had the opportunity to think about and absorb many new and valuable concepts. Some of them I have not emphasized enough in my own practice. The idea of encouraging the application of reading strategies in every class was always something I preached but did not really apply in every content area. Applying reading strategies in the area of mathematics was lacking in my practice. This course gave me the chance to think this through and then work it through with a colleague. By developing a comprehension strategy sheet for students to do while reading through their math assignment, we were able to increase student comprehension and independent learning. This class also gave me the freedom to feel comfortable with simply manipulating the variables of difficulty and complexity while holding fast to enduring knowledge. I always felt somehow that I was cheating if I simplified materials too much. I see now that the enduring knowledge is the key and many roads may get you there. I also plan to take seriously the importance of a building wide vocabulary focus. I will try to encourage this practice in my own building and endeavor to incorporate it, at least, within our grade level team. I also plan to use more self-monitoring, so my students will become aware of their own understanding. Although I have learned so much through this class, I feel if I focus on making changes in these key areas, it will help me the most to be a more effective teacher. (WA)

When I turned in the paper work for this class last spring, I was mostly interested in the reading instruction portion of the class. The past few years in my classroom, my students have come to me with lower reading skills and significant holes in their ability to decode as well as in their comprehension. I took this class in hopes of finding help with phonics and came away with so much more. Enduring understanding was a new term for me and learning about the need that has caused a real shift in my thinking about my objectives and activities. Looking at enduring understanding in vocabulary instruction was very helpful, thinking in terms of helping students learn strategies to help them understand challenging words rather than memorizing a list of definitions. The surprise came for me in the coaching portion of the class. I had not expected to be in the leadership role I have found myself in this year and learning about using guiding questions and collecting data to share with the coaches has been very helpful in this new area of responsibility. Although this course has been stretching, it has been a very good learning experience that is impacting both my teaching and my ability to be of help to my team. (WA)

(1) Using content area reading to reinforce enduring understanding in reading is important. Normally I think of reading in content areas as using reading as a tool to be able to unlock the content, but there are also enduring reading skills like cause and effect, compare and contrast, etc. that are best served in content areas like social studies and science. For student success, learning how to read the texts themselves is as important a skill as being able to pull the facts and information out of the text. (2) Genuine fluency practice in the classroom was an idea I want to incorporate into my classroom. At upper levels, I’ve only seen fluency work done as timed readings, so getting additional ideas for working with fluency in real texts was an eye-opener. (3) Differentiation of text levels is something I plan to work on. There are a few times in history where students must do research, and I need to work on collecting a range of texts that meet the reading levels of all the students in my classroom. Since time is so limited in the classroom, it is essential to work with all students where they are, and to incorporate genuine literacy into more subjects. (4) The Big Four and the Before, During and After structures are both helpful ways to think about structuring every lesson involving reading to make sure all the necessary pieces are there (prior knowledge/pre-teaching, comprehension, closure activities like writing). The more I compare lessons to those structures, the more natural lesson planning with all those features will be. (WA)

The key learnings that resonate throughout this course are all to provide our students with the ability and opportunity to be effective and confidant readers for life. Coaching is a highly effective method to ensure that as teachers we are using best intentional practice in our lessons. Establishing positive coaching relationships with our peers and colleagues ensures that as teachers we are aware, analyzing and progressing towards this goal. Asking each other essential questions regarding our objectives keeps the focus on the 7 essential components of reading. Consistently measuring where our lessons are going and that the objectives are the enduring knowledge our students need to connect and apply to their experiences. Using data collected through coaching will guide teachers to a better understanding of student outcomes, student engagement and teacher behaviors that contribute to student learning. (WA, 2014)

Throughout this course I have learned how to establish and plan for an effective coaching experience, and will endeavor to continue this practice in the future. I learned how the components of effective reading instruction will vary in content and deliverer at different grade levels, and that there are seven components of effective reading instruction. I plan to remember these things as while designing lessons for my students. I learned that one must choose effective methods for data collection and analysis, and that through this analysis one can help design and use essential questions in a coaching experience. Questing can help distinguish between effective and ineffective elements of reading instruction, and by using effective reading instruction one can establish a building-wide collaboration process that can help increase student reading achievement. I plan to continue this process into the future. (WA, 2014)

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I have learned that having essential questions and striving for enduring understanding is the key to a good reading lesson. I also appreciated the professional development on the Big Four and the Before, During and After approach. I want to ensure that my students are getting the vocabulary, eliciting the background knowledge, utilizing comprehension strategies and setting purpose for reading. I also understand the importance of writing as a response to reading to engage students and to cement their understanding. Using guiding questions will be a powerful tool that I will use in all my instruction as well. Teaching in a NXGL environment leads itself to co teaching. The process of mentoring/coaching/evaluating will make me a better teacher and hopefully then I will be able to create more meaningful lessons for my students. (WI, 2014)

My key learnings begin with the big picture and the enduring understanding. In my years of teaching I always picked out the big rocks of the curriculum and ensured students learned those concepts. With this class’ learning I will be looking deeper for concepts that are essential for students across the curriculum. In my grade level meeting will ask essential questions that will help guide the group to using best practices in all subject areas. Effective coaching is non-judgmental and non-threatening. As teaching peers we are all responsible for all students and need to do what is necessary to have students meet grade level or higher. The more teachers that work together on this, the better chance of success. Collecting meaningful data and making decisions based on that data will improve student achievement. So when our meetings take place I will make sure we have enduring understanding, student engagement, measurable student outcomes, and best teaching practices to help our students. (WI, 2014)

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This class has helped me in a couple of ways. First of all, I did not know the term Enduring Understanding when I started this class. This has become a driving force in helping plan my lessons effectively. By thinking about the critical concepts and skills that all students are expected to know, understand and do, my lessons have become more concise and meaningful. I am constantly looking at what I am teaching and asking what is important for the students to know, understand, and be able to do as a result of the lesson; why is it important for the students to know these things; what should all students take with them after the lesson; and what evidence will I have that they know and understand the concepts and skills taught. Secondly, the ideas for effective coaching have been extremely helpful. I often have shared ideas with others but coaching brings things to a new level and is very effective in the sense that the coach isn’t just sharing ideas, but is asking questions that guide the coachee to make his/her own decisions and guide the coachee to his/her own intentional best practice. Coaching is an effective way to provide feedback that allows for the sharing of ideas which is helpful to both the coach and person being coached. This in turn helps make us all better teachers in order to help make sure that all students are successful and that all students can read. (WY, 2014)

One thing I will take from this course is enduring understanding. In the past I have written my objectives for my lessons because that is what I want the students to be able to do at the end of a lesson. Now I write my objective with, “WHY do I want my students to learn this?” and “how is this important for their future success?” I feel like my lessons have become more powerful and beneficial for my students. Finally the information on effective coaching was good for me. The relationship I built with my partner was great and I understand how important it is to establish a good coaching relationship. After a relationship has been established a coach can then effectively direct the coachee toward lesson enhancement and enduring understanding. This in turn benefits the students and helps to provide a strong learning foundation for all. (WY, 2014)

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