How will you lead today?

About Lead Literacy

Hi. I'm Brenda Power, and I founded Choice Literacy in 2006. Lead Literacy is our new "boutique" website for literacy coaches and others who spend their days guiding teachers to better teaching practices. This site is the one I wished for when I was leading literacy initiatives in schools. No one ever taught me how to work with adults, beyond giving me a few suggestions for activities and readings. Back in the day I baked a lot of my killer banana bread to up the attendance at my professional development events, and I scrambled to adapt the methods I used with children to my work with teachers.

I was fortunate to collaborate with many wonderful teachers who were kind as I muddled my way through, learning day by day how complex and complicated helping others change can be. Literacy coaches live in a no man's land -- not quite administrators, and not quite teachers, the work can be a lonely business of creating the job as you go. Yet it's also fascinating and exhilarating to have a hand in everything from collaborating with a new teacher to design her first unit on argumentative writing, to diving into a mountain of student work with a third grade teaching team to tease out needs and strengths. No work could possibly be more varied and inspiring . . . or poorly defined. Over the years at Choice Literacy, we've heard again and again from literacy coaches and school leaders about how they long for more advice and assistance from others traveling the same path.

Enter Lead Literacy. This site is a toolkit of sample professional development activities and formats to try out with others, protocols for one-on-one conferring and teamwork with colleagues, and videos to mull over with teachers in your school. Beyond field-tested activities and formats, we provide honest and unvarnished accounts of our triumphs and struggles wearing this awkward mantle of "literacy leader." Our contributors all work in schools daily and have a hodgepodge of titles -- instructional coach, curriculum support teacher, reading specialist, principal. What we share is a responsibility for working in classrooms with teachers as they grapple with new reading and writing strategies and align their work to state and national standards. We also design full-day and full-year professional development programs, as well as the odd 20-minute session at the end of a faculty meeting in March when everyone is crabby and wants to be anywhere but in a faculty meeting listening to us! We know the special challenges of your work, because we're living with them every day.

Here's how the site works. Members pay an annual fee of $87 (less than 25 cents a day) for access to our library of print, video, and audio resources. Each week, 5-7 new features are posted, with summaries of the new resources emailed to members in the weekly "It List" early Friday morning. Why isn't the content free? We pay our contributors, videographers, and software designers. Our site is ad-free, with no pitches for programs, dancing ants across the bottom of the page, or exploding rollover ads to distract and irritate you.

Members log into the site from any computer at home, school, or on the road. You can save articles in folders you create in My Bookmarks. You can customize your folders for the different hats you wear in your work, from leading teacher teams to data analysis, depending on your needs. Lead Literacy also includes access to the Choice Literacy PD2Go library of videos linked to workshop guides.

We want to come to the rescue when you're scrambling to find a good format for a Common Core workshop assigned to you at the last minute. We want to be your go-to source for quiet inspiration when you're tired and frazzled, and need to hear from others about how they stay balanced in a job with no clear boundaries. There are many excellent sources on the web for the "what" of literacy instruction (like Choice Literacy). Much harder to find are resources for the "how" of helping teachers change -- detailing the planning, listening, and advocacy skills that are essential for this work. Join Now for immediate access to all the resources at the site.

Top 5 Reasons to Subscribe to Lead Literacy

#1  When you know better, you do better. While every leader may not have a coach of their own, they can coach themselves to better practice with time and the right resources.

#2   Adults learners have unique needs. Our print, video, and audio resources are a blend of research and tried and true practices. We feature what really works, from top contributors throughout the country.

#3   There is not enough time for everything that's out there. We work as a filter for what is worth your precious time with both an extensive library of content and 5-7 timely new features on the IT list each week.

#4   You take in the information you need, your way. Would you like to listen to a podcast on how coaches repair relationships while you walk? Maybe you are in the mood to view meeting protocol to see how it works? At the end of the day maybe you'd like a cup of tea while reading the latest thinking from educators you respect. Our resources are at your fingertips, ready to fit into whatever small bits of time you have for your own professional development.

#5   Ongoing, just-in-time professional development is the most effective. For much less than the cost of attending a conference or workshop, Lead Literacy provides what you need to do your best work.

Who We Are

Literacy coaches, principals, and school leaders from throughout the United States contribute to this site. You can scroll through our contributor biographies at this link to get a better sense of our many varied roles and experiences. My background includes work as a teacher, professional development school coordinator, college professor, and editor at Stenhouse Publishers. I love visiting our contributors in schools, often bringing along video cameras and crew to record their brilliance. I live on a small lake in Maine with my husband Dave, and we have one daughter in college.