Achieving 100% literacy is an important goal for many schools. Over the past 5–10 years, government legislation and federally funded programs such as Title I, No Child Left Behind, and Reading Initiatives, such as the Alabama Reading Initiative, have emphasized the importance of effective literacy instruction in order to achieve 100% literacy (Quatroche, Bean, & Hamilton, 2001). To promote effective literacy instruction, literacy coaching through the use of reading coaches has become an important avenue of support for instructional reform; however, due to the lack of research, little is currently known regarding the effectiveness of the work of reading coaches. If reading coaches are to be successful at improving literacy instruction and student reading proficiency, it is important for them to carry out their job responsibilities effectively. If daily responsibilities are carried out effectively, it is hoped that reading coaches can have a positive impact on student learning.
This study was designed to add to the limited amount of research on reading coaches. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, this study identified principals’ perceptions concerning the effectiveness of reading coaches at performing their daily job responsibilities. Secondly, this study investigated whether or not principals perceived reading coaches to be a necessity within schools.
Thirty-five elementary school principals from one school district were invited to participate in the study by completing a 20 item five point Likert type scale questionnaire that measured their perceptions. The questionnaire also included a five item demographic section that included gender, age, education level, years of experience, and school enrollment. Twenty-eight principals completed this study’s questionnaire, yielding a total of 80%.
Based on the five point Likert-type scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly Agree), one is the lowest possible score, and five is the highest attainable score. The findings of this study indicated that principals viewed reading coaches as being effective at carrying out their daily responsibilities. The overall mean score of principals’ perceptions regarding the effectiveness of reading coaches was 4.6 out of a possible score of 5. The results also indicated that principals viewed reading coaches as being a necessary part of their schools’ faculty. The overall mean score for the need for coaches within schools was 4.62.
Independent samples t-tests and Spearman Correlations were used to determine if there were significant differences and significant relationships between principals’ perceptions and the five demographic areas. No significant differences were found.