All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lynn Kirkland

Advisory Committee Members

Tonya Perry

Lois Christensen

Jenna Lachenaye

Grace Jepkemboi

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


ABSTRACT Literacy coaches are being tasked with helping to close the literacy achievement gap. Literacy coaches are also being heavily relied upon as a mechanism for professional development. Based on early research, coaching can improve the capacity of teachers to deliver high quality instruction and thereby improve student learning. However, limited research exists on the impact of the literacy coach on teachers’ instructional practices and student achievement. The present study attempted to address this gap in the research base by developing a grounded theory explaining factors which relate to the development of effective teacher-coach interactions. Qualitative methods were used for data collection in the form of semi-structured interviews and grounded theory process of analysis. Study participants included teachers and principals from urban elementary school district in central Alabama. At the time of the interviews, all participants experienced at least one full coaching cycle, taught at least three years, and worked with a literacy coach within the past five years. Two major themes emerged: Establishing relationships and Facilitative values. Each of these themes was further broken down into 6 sub-themes; trust, expertise, defined roles, data-driven discourse, formal coaching conversations, and consistency/follow-through. The grounded theory which emerged from the data highlights that successful teacher-coach interactions are based on establishing strong relationships and embodying facilitative values. There are many contextual factors within urban elementary schools, some that contributed to the success of the literacy coaching experience, and others that impeded its effectiveness. In the current study, influential factors identified were related to the impact a literacy coach could have on teachers’ motivation or reluctance to change instructional practices based on the literacy coaching experience. This information may be beneficial for any teacher, coach, administrator, or school districts who engage in utilizing literacy coaches to support and improve teacher capacity and student achievement through literacy instruction.

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