The Literacy Specialist

Fourth Edition
Leadership and Coaching for the Classroom, School, and Community

Rita M. Bean and Virginia J. Goatley

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November 16, 2020
ISBN 9781462544608
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374 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
November 16, 2020
ISBN 9781462544554
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374 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 8, 2020
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Price: $40.00 $30.00
374 Pages
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374 Pages
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The definitive practitioner resource and text for developing excellence as a PreK–12 literacy/reading specialist is now updated to reflect key changes in the field. Delving into the literacy specialist's multiple leadership roles, the book provides strategies for teaching children experiencing difficulty with reading and writing; supporting teachers through coaching and professional learning opportunities; designing curricula; conducting assessments at the student, classroom, and school levels; and building strong school, family, and community partnerships. Pedagogical features include vignettes from exemplary practitioners, questions for discussion and reflection, follow-up activities, and ideas for instructors and workshop leaders. Reproducible forms and worksheets can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½" x 11" size. Previous edition title: The Reading Specialist, Third Edition.

New to This Edition

“This book has been a touchstone text for my students since the first edition. Current and future reading specialists, literacy coaches, and literacy leaders of every kind will appreciate the important updates in the fourth edition—a focus on technology, attention to the ILA's Standards 2017, an emphasis on culturally relevant instruction, and much more. The original content focusing on the roles and responsibilities of literacy leaders across all levels is more applicable today than ever. I will absolutely continue to recommend this book to all of my literacy and leadership graduate students and colleagues!”

—Jacy Ippolito, EdD, Secondary and Higher Education Department, Salem State University

“The fourth edition brings this work up to date with a broader conceptualization of the role that literacy specialists play in improving learning across student, classroom, and organizational levels. The book is full of practical applications and engaging vignettes. With expanded attention to oral language development, multiliteracies, digital tools, linguistic and cultural diversity, disciplinary literacies, and secondary school contexts, the fourth edition is a page-turning instructional resource that both novice and experienced specialists will want to keep forever.”

—Dana A. Robertson, EdD, Executive Director, Literacy Research Center and Clinic, and Associate Professor of Teacher Education, University of Wyoming

“Comprehensive and far-reaching, this fourth edition both represents and expands current thinking about the ways that literacy specialists can make a real difference in improving instruction for all students. The authors present rich research from multiple disciplines and draw connections to optimal leadership and coaching practices. With vignettes written by practitioners and a case study that develops across the text, the authors provide situated and timely guidance. Questions and challenges facing literacy specialists are explored in a manner that deepens the reader's understanding of different perspectives while building a 'can-do' approach to problem solving. Especially appropriate for teacher educators is the fourth edition's alignment with the ILA's Standards 2017. I highly recommend this text.”

—Victoria J. Risko, EdD, Professor Emerita, Vanderbilt University; past president, International Literacy Association

Table of Contents

1. The Role of Literacy Professionals in Schools, Classrooms, and Communities sample

2. Teaching Students: An Overview of the Instructional Role

3. The Instructional Role: Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating

4. Leadership of the Literacy Specialist: What Does It Mean?

5. Professional Learning: The New Professional Development

6. Coaching: Improving Classroom and School Literacy Instruction

7. Coaching Individual Teachers to Improve Literacy Teaching and Learning

8. Developing a School Literacy Program: Facilitating School Change

9. Assessment of Classroom and School Literacy Programs

10. School, Community, and Family Partnerships

11. Making Your Voice Matter: Contributions to the Professional Community

12. The Literacy Specialist as Lifelong Learner: Addressing Challenges and Changes

Appendix A. Coaching Summary Sheet: The Observation Cycle

Appendix B. Observation Protocol for Content-Area Instruction

Appendix C. Sample Observation Form for Scripting Lesson

Appendix D. Website Resources

Appendix E. Preparation for Job Interviews

Appendix F. Ideas for Course or Workshop Instructors



About the Authors

Rita M. Bean, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, where she served as director of the Reading Center for 25 years. Prior to joining the university, she taught at the elementary school level and also served as a reading supervisor for grades K–12. Dr. Bean has developed elementary and middle school reading curriculum materials and has published numerous articles and book chapters on reading curriculum, assessment and instruction in reading, professional learning, and the role of reading specialists and literacy coaches. She served as a researcher on several large grants, including Reading First in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant. She is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame, a former board member of the International Literacy Association (ILA), and served as chair of the ILA's Commission on the Role of the Reading Specialist. Dr. Bean also served as co-chair of the ILA committee that developed the Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017. She is a recipient of the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service Awards, as well as awards from the Keystone State Reading Association, the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, The ILA, and the Pennsylvania branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Virginia J. Goatley, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning at the University at Albany, State University of New York. A former elementary teacher, she has collaborated on several federal research grants focusing on teacher preparation and professional development that supports effective literacy classroom practice. Dr. Goatley is a regular participant in national and statewide efforts for teacher education and preparation of literacy professionals. She served as coeditor of the Journal of Literacy Research, board member for the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation, co-chair of the New York State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, and lead writer for the ILA committee that developed the Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017. Dr. Goatley is a recipient of the Albert J. Kingston Service Award from the Literacy Research Association, the President’s Excellence in Faculty Academic Service Award from the University at Albany, and the Council Service Award from the New York State Reading Association.


Literacy/reading specialists and coaches in grades PreK–12; instructors and graduate students in literacy leadership programs.

Course Use

Serves as a text in such courses as The Reading Specialist, The Literacy Specialist, Literacy Leadership, and Administration and Supervision of the Reading Program.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

Third Edition, © 2015
ISBN: 9781462521531

Second Edition, © 2009
ISBN: 9781606234068

First Edition, © 2004
ISBN: 9781572309821
New to this edition: