Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


Language & Literacy

First Advisor

Diane Stephens


I became a literacy coach eight years ago. After working at one school for five years with four different principals and reading everything I could find about being a literacy coach, I was keenly aware of the gap between the rhetoric of literacy coaching and the realities I faced in this role. The available literature around literacy coaching did not sufficiently address my questions and concerns regarding the challenges I encountered. During my sixth year, I systematically collected data about what I did as a coach. I audiotaped daily conversations, wrote reflections, and collected all school-related emails. I conducted interviews with a classroom teacher, a school principal, and a district-level administrator. I examined the rhetoric in books about coaching. My goal was to document the similarities and differences between the rhetoric and the realities of literacy coaching as I experienced them. I used a constant comparative method to explore patterns in the data and used my data to write an autoethnography.

In my findings, I detailed the complexities of the relationship between the literacy coach and administration, the power relationships between the literacy coach and administrators and teachers, and the role of teachers in the coaching experience. I addressed the implications via three open letters--one each to teachers, literacy coaches, and administrators.


© 2012, Sara Hellen Somerall