Book Review: Stephanie Affinito’s “Literacy Coaching”

I’m always reading- whether it has to do with reading strategies, wizards, neuroscience (occasionally) , or unicorns, I am ALWAYS reading. To that end, I’d like to post some book reviews to share not only what I’m reading, but also why it is important to the work I’m doing as a literacy teacher and overall educator.

Each of my book reviews will serve a specific purpose. I will not be reviewing the books based on how much I like the book- while that’s important, it’s not nearly objective enough. I want to show my readers exactly how each of the books that I review will be helpful to teachers and parents on teaching their students and helping their children grow as readers. These books can include the fantasy fiction that I love, new books that I’ve never tried before, or they may be education based books that offer strategies for the classroom or curriculum development.

In today’s teaching climate, more and more schools are requiring digital technologies in the classroom and using these technologies to bridge existing gaps in learning. Dr. Stephanie Affinito’s Literacy Coaching: Transforming Teaching and Learning is an excellent resource for teachers and literacy coaches who want to learn two things:

  1. How to guide children and other teachers through their specific literacy goals,
  2. How to bring digital literacy into the classroom and use technology to effectively communicate with students, teachers, and parents.

To Dr. Affinito, technology is simply a pathway into unlocking student and teacher potential. Being a literacy coach means a lot of data tracking- whether the data is based on the students’ various reading skills (fluency, accuracy, prosody, and comprehension- to name a few), but coaches often have to keep data on their teachers’ needs as well. What does the fourth grade science teacher need for their ICT classroom? What skills and strategies would be most beneficial to present on for a professional development meeting? Which websites are worth applying in the classroom? Affinito answers these questions and more in her book. She provides links and resources for teachers and coaches to use in the classroom, in planning, and in professional development.

These tables provide comparisons to traditional tools that readers and teachers use to their digital counterparts.

In my own view, technology is not always the answer. Sometimes students need to physically write things down or learn a traditional method in order to determine for themselves what their “right method” is. However, that does not mean that we should limit the possibilities for our students and for ourselves. This book is an effective branch for literacy coaches and teachers to learn the different ways that students can be taught with technology, and how we as adult learners can use technology to bridge our own learning gaps and collaborate with each other.

For more information about Dr. Affinito and her work on literacy coaching and teaching strategies, visit her website here.

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