Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Janet C. Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patricia Daniel Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joan F. Kaywell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael B. Sherry, Ph.D.


modeling, coaching, partnerships, relationships


Literacy coaching is not new to education. Since the 2001 shift in the United States (U.S.) educational policy towards high-quality teacher training, accountability, and student achievement, literacy or reading coach positions have been a core part of the educational institution (U. S. Department of Education, 2003). However, with undefined coaching roles and inadequate coach training early in the initiative, minimal impact on effective teacher development and instructional shifts towards closing the achievement gap occurred (Dole, 2003; International Reading Association, 2004).

In the past ten years, more understanding of literacy coaches’ roles and responsibilities has occurred with the publication of numerous manuals focused on coaching as well as education for coaches. For example, Toll (2014) defines literacy coaches as “partners with teachers for job-embedded professional learning that enhances teachers’ reflection on students, the curriculum and pedagogy…” (p. 10). Literacy coaches recognize an essential role of coaching is collaboration and partnerships with teachers. For these relationships to happen, coaches must build connections with teachers. Thus, coaches must know adult learning theory and have strong interpersonal skills (Toll, 2014). However, scant empirical evidence is available regarding how coaches must build collaborative relationships as well as navigate other professional identities (Rainville & Jones, 2008) and responsive/directive distinctions between administration, teachers, and district initiatives (Ippolito, 2010).

This study adds to the extant literature using a narrative inquiry approach. I share a personal narrative of my lived experience as a new literacy coach along with two early-career English language arts (ELA) teachers as together; we navigated through their and my teacher practices of planning, teaching, collaboration, and building a professional learning community. As suggested by Clandinin (2013) regarding narrative inquiry, I did not devise A Priori questions to guide my study. Instead, following Clandinin’s idea about Wonderments, I sought to find answers guided by the following Wonderments:

• In what ways do I, as a literacy coach, navigate my roles and responsibilities to build partnerships with two ELA teachers?

• In what ways do I, as a literacy coach, establish collaboration among these two teachers to build a professional learning community?

• In what ways do these two teachers’ beliefs influence my coaching, modeling, and relationship building?

I grounded this narrative inquiry in the tenets of social constructivism (Ben & Kosnik, 2006), sociocultural theory (Bruner 1990; Vygotsky, 1978), constructivism (Dewey, 1916, 1933; Piaget, 1954; Vygotsky, 1978), and change theory (Fullan, 2001, 2006).