Over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Mike Mandarino, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literacy and Elementary Eduation at Northern Illinois University. When he approached me to review his new book, Collaborative Coaching for Disciplinary Literacy, written by himself and three other colleagues at NIU, I jumped at the chance. As a high school instructional coach, I am always on the lookout for professional education material to help me improve my practices. While there are a lot of books written for literacy coaches on the elementary level, I have not seen any focused on disciplinary literacy coaching at the high school level. One of the biggest challenges I faced when moving from the elementary to high school level was supporting teachers in their disciplines. Content literacy strategies only got me so far. Mike Manderino and Paula Di Domenico were my go-to coaches (along with the rest of the Leyden HS reading team) for support as I transitioned to a more disciplinary literacy approach. In their new book, these authors provide a coaching framework grounded in the pillars of Common Core – skills students are expected to be proficient in across content areas – as well as practical strategies that can be implemented immediately with teachers.
Collaborative Coaching for Disciplinary Literacy is broken into seven sections:
- Disciplinary Literacy in a Standards Based Era
- Disciplinary Literacy Coaching
- Models of Disciplinary Literacy Coaching
- Large Group Coaching Strategies to Build a Foundation for Disciplinary Literacy Instruction
- Small Group Coaching Strategies to Support Disciplinary Literacy Instruction
- Individual Coaching Strategies to Support Teachers with Disciplinary Literacy Instruction
- Profiles of Highly Effective Disciplinary Literacy Coaches
The bulk focuses on specific strategies that coaches can use to organize professional development in large group, small group, and individual settings. As I read through each strategy, I felt reaffirmed that I am approaching disciplinary literacy coaching in the right way. This book is chalk full of tips and strategies that I will use right away in my coaching sessions with our staff. I especially appreciated the “Strategy in Action” section which offers teachers examples of strategies being used in classroom settings.
If you are an instructional coach in a middle or high school setting, I highly recommend you add this book to your professional library. It is a wonderful resource to use!