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Program Description

Overview The Afterschool Literacy Coaching Initiative (LCI) provides staff at after school programs with literacy coaches in an effort to increase the literacy content of programs serving elementary and middle school students in Boston, Massachusetts, in two key areas: interactive read-alouds and independent reading.
Start Date Fall 2003 (pilot year); Fall 2004 (Year 1)
Scope local
Type after school
Location urban
Setting public school, community-based organization
Participants kindergarten through middle school students
Number of Sites/Grantees 40 programs (2003–2005)
Number Served 675 youth in 2003–2004; 1,437 youth in 2004-2005; 1,385 youth in 2005–2006
Components Through LCI, professional literacy coaches drawn from the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and ReadBoston (a nonprofit children’s literacy initiative founded by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino) provide intensive support to after school program staff through weekly coaching for a period of 1 or more years. BPS coaches generally serve programs located in schools. ReadBoston coaches are located in community-based organizations as well as some organizations located in school buildings. Typically, a coach works with at least two staff members per program in a sustained manner during the year, beginning by modeling read-alouds and gradually transferring responsibility to the staff person for conducting read-alouds and independent reading periods with the children. ReadBoston coaches generally provide 2 afternoons per week of coaching while BPS coaches generally provide around 60 hours of coaching per year. The coaches also help other staff gain new skills through workshops, observation, and informal discussion. In addition, each program receives funding to create or supplement its library and create an appropriate library space.

“Touchback” grants, which provide 15 hours of coaching over the course of the year, were introduced into the initiative in the 2005–2006 school year (Year 2) with the goal of helping previously funded programs to become self-sustainable. During Year 2, 5 sites received touchback grants, 3 of which were served by ReadBoston and 2 by BPS.

Many different types of programs participate in LCI. Most program site directors report that they emphasize “enhancing self esteem, positive self-image, and sense of belonging” and “strengthening relationship with peers/social skills.” A slight majority—13 of the 20—include “improving academic performance” and about half include “increasing engagement in learning” among their top three goals.
Funding Level Approximately $1 million
Funding Sources The initiative is supported by a number of members of Boston’s After-School for All Partnership including: Fleet National Bank, Trustee of the L.G. Balfour Foundation, FleetBoston Financial Foundation, Massachusetts 2020, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and the Verizon Foundation. Additional funding comes from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program, managed locally by Boston Centers for Youth & Families.
Other The funders and coaching providers serve on a steering committee to oversee the initiative, which is managed by Massachusetts 2020, a nonprofit foundation focused on expanding educational and economic opportunities for children and families across Massachusetts.


Overview The evaluation explored how LCI works and what outcomes it produced for programs, staff, and youth during the first 2 years of the initiative.
Evaluators Beth M. Miller, Miller Midzik Research Associates

Roblyn Brigham, Brigham Nahas Research Associates

Flavia Perea, Brandeis University
Evaluations Profiled Afterschool Literacy Coaching Initiative of Boston: Final Evaluation Report
Evaluations Planned None
Report Availability Miller, B. M., Brigham, R., & Perea, F. (2006). Afterschool Literacy Coaching Initiative of Boston: Final evaluation report. Boston: Massachusetts 2020.


Evaluation Beth M. Miller, Ph.D.
Senior Research Advisor
National Institute on Out-Of-School Time
Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Tel: 781-283-2507
Fax: 781-283-3657
Program David Farbman
Research Director
Massachusetts 2020
One Beacon Street, 34th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-723-6747
Fax: 617-723-6746
Profile Updated August 3, 2007

Evaluation: Afterschool Literacy Coaching Initiative of Boston: Final Evaluation Report

Evaluation Description

Evaluation Purpose To address the following questions: What challenges do programs face in implementing LCI and how do they overcome them? How do programs change as a result of their experience with LCI? How are after school staff affected by their experiences with coaching? What changes occur for the youth participating in LCI programs? What strategies help programs sustain the gains made during LCI?
Evaluation Design Quasi-Experimental and Non-Experimental: Data were collected on all LCI programs in Years 1 and 2. Surveys were completed by program directors (20 in Year 1, 21 in Year 2), staff (Year 1 =113 in the fall and 126 in the spring, Year 2 = 97 in the fall and 128 in the spring), and coaches (13 each in Years 1 and 2). In addition, interviews were conducted with key stakeholders (i.e., the leadership of BPS and ReadBoston coaches, Massachusetts 2020, and other Steering Committee members): 7 in Year 1 and 6 in Year 2, as well as with staff at 4 sites that were no longer received funding. All students in grade 3 or above in all LCI programs were asked to complete surveys. In Year 1, 230 students completed surveys in both the fall and spring. In Year 2, 183 students completed surveys in both the fall and spring.

Three programs were randomly selected to serve as in-depth study sites to help assess sustainability of the effects on programs, including two touchback sites (1 BPS, 1 ReadBoston) and 1 site no longer receiving funding (ReadBoston). A member of the evaluation team visited each in-depth study site several times in the fall and spring of both Years 1 and 2 to interview program staff; observe coaching, workshops, and read-alouds; interview program directors; and conduct focus groups with program staff, coaches, and youth participants. Over the 2 years, evaluators conducted 12 staff interviews, 12 staff focus groups, 14 youth focus groups, and 3 coach focus groups.
Data Collection Methods Document Review: Evaluators reviewed monthly logs in which coaches documented the types of activities they engaged in with each program.

Interviews/Focus Groups: Interviews with staff at sites that were no longer funded examined sustainability issues. Other interviews and focus groups assessed LCI’s implementation and outcomes.

Observation: Observations were conducted during visits to in-depth sites to study program implementation, read-alouds, and initiative outcomes.

Secondary Source/Data Review: Evaluators collected data on all LCI program from Massachusetts 2020 on program size, number of staff, grades/ages served, and the racial and ethnic composition of children in attendance.

Surveys/Questionnaires: Youth surveys asked about interest in reading, especially read-alouds, and frequency of participation in reading activities. Staff surveys focused on read-aloud participation, indicating frequency of read-alouds held and each child’s participation. Director and coach surveys asked about LCI’s implementation and outcomes.

Tests/Assessments: Coaches assessed staff skills with a Read-Aloud Observation tool, assessing each targeted staff person up to 3 times over the course of the year. Youth surveys contained the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (McKenna, Kear, & Ellsworth, 1995), which measures recreational reading and academic reading attitudes, to which were added 4 items to capture changes in attitude toward read-alouds and independent reading.

McKenna, M. C., Kear, D. J., & Ellsworth, R. A. (1995). Children's attitudes toward reading: A national survey. Reading Research Quarterly, 30, 934–956.
Data Collection Timeframe Data were collected during Years 1 (2004–2005) and 2 (2005–2006) of the initiative.

Formative/Process Findings

Activity Implementation In Year 1, coaches spent an average of 102 hours working with their programs, ranging from 32.5 hours to 189 hours. In Year 2, nontouchback sites received an average of 110 hours of onsite coaching. Touchback coaches spent an average of 21 hours on site (note that this is more than the 15 hours in the grant), ranging from 11.5 to 35 hours.

While working at the sites, coaches were involved in a wide range of activities. The most common activities included leading read-aloud sessions, working on the library, meeting with individual staff members for coaching sessions, and meeting with the director (which also included coaching the director, in many programs).

All coaches spent time ordering books for their sites. BPS coaches submitted book orders to their fiscal agents, while ReadBoston coaches mostly purchased books in person. Each approach had benefits and drawbacks. BPS coaches often encountered long delivery delays and orders mistakenly returned to the distributor from the program’s host school. Late and incorrect orders hampered coaches’ work, since the introduction of new books was often a key lever to building youth’s enthusiasm and staff buy-in. For ReadBoston coaches, picking books in person was time-consuming but allowed them to review the book before ordering it, obtain it in a timely manner, and, in some cases, visit the bookstore with staff and/or directors to introduce them to the process.

Second-year sites operated very similarly to first-year sites. In fact, in a number of cases coaches and site directors noted that a particular second-year site was actually more like a first-year site, due to problems that hindered progress in Year 1 or turnover of directors and staff between Years 1 and 2. Where there was more continuity, coaches were able to work intensively with additional staff and build on the work begun in Year 1.

Coaches at touchback sites often had a different focus than coaches at other sites; rather than working intensively with two targeted staff people, they tended to work more closely with the director, helping to continue regular read-alouds, keep the library maintained, and plan how to keep the program going after LCI funding ended. Compared to other coaches, touchback coaches spent about 25% more total hours on site, including more time meeting with the director, leading coaching sessions, and observing staff lead literacy activities. On the other hand, touchback coaches spent less time than other coaches modeling and coleading read-alouds and observing staff-led independent reading activities.

Some coaches noted that youth’s behavioral problems hindered program implementation, , whether these behavioral problems were related to larger issues in the program (such as staff’s skills in managing behavior) or lack of youth engagement in the read-aloud itself.

Coaches identified scheduling issues as a challenge, with 40–45% of coaches identifying the following as challenges: availability of other staff to cover for the coached staff, making time for staff to meet with coaches, and fitting literacy into already tight schedule.

Surveys showed that directors had positive feedback about how well coaches handled issues of race, ethnicity and social class, though there was room for improvement. In Year 1, 2 sites said that the selection of books for the library and the read-alouds did not address these issues well. Staff tended to be people of color, while coaches tended to be White. Some coaches noted the tensions inherent in these differences at times, though directors, coaches, and staff tended to report that such tensions were handled well.

Among programs involved in the initiative during both years of the evaluation, 7 programs in Year 1 and 5 programs in Year 2 used a formal literary curriculum, such as Reading Camp, Making Meaning, or KidzLit, prior to becoming part of LCI.
Program Context/Infrastructure Programs varied from small, one-room providers with just a couple of staff to large programs serving most of the students at a school.

Some coaches, directors, and staff noted that securing programming space was a challenge to implementing LCI. Some coaches also noted instability in the organizations in which LCI operated and lack of time to engage in coaching as implementation challenges.

Coaches expressed a need for greater accountability by the programs served; they felt that programs with high turnover, disorganization, or resistance from the director or staff impeded progress in successfully implementing the program.

In many cases, site directors were not directly involved in developing the LCI funding proposal, and they embarked on LCI with varying degrees of interest, enthusiasm, and understanding of the process and goals. At more than one site, the director and staff initially thought that the grant was designed to bring someone in to conduct read-aloud activities with youth on a regular basis. When they found out (typically once the coach had started working with the program) that it was a professional development initiative, it took time to create a successful transition, according to site directors. These communication problems decreased over the course of LCI, as the request for proposals became more focused on setting clear expectations and orientation sessions were developed for directors.

For LCI to be successful, stakeholders at touchback sites reported the need to meet certain criteria: director longevity and commitment, strong organizational management, staff stability, and alignment of LCI with preexisting program goals and structure. Touchback site coaches also noted that it would be helpful to have the touchback model goals and process more clearly defined.

Some coaches encountered resistance from staff. A few staff communicated concern with the literacy focus, which did not fit with their philosophy regarding the role of after school programs. Others thought that they simply did not have time or already had the skills. Often, the resistance dissipated over the course of the year, as the staff watched youth become more engaged and their own abilities to conduct literacy activities improved. In many cases, coaches were able to help overcome these barriers by building relationships with staff, providing positive feedback and guidance, and modeling in a way that made the skills seem both attractive and achievable.

The most commonly cited implementation challenges by staff related to time, with some staff indicating a need for more time to be spent with the coaches.
Recruitment/Participation Among children attending LCI programs for whom racial/ethnic data were available (99% in Year 1 and 97% in Year 2), the vast majority were children of color (89% in Year 1, and 88% in Year 2), mostly Latino/Hispanic, followed by African American,.

Changes in youth participation caused challenges for LCI’s implementation, since LCI’s success depended on youth’s regular participation in read-alouds over the course of a year.

Staff identified the ability to engage youth during read-alouds as a key benefit of LCI.
Satisfaction In both Years 1 and 2, coaches were generally satisfied with the support they received in their programs, especially in the areas of relationships built with staff and support from their supervisor. However, over half of the coaches reported inadequate communication with the director and staff as well as funding for costs other than library materials. Compared to other coaches, touchback coaches were somewhat more satisfied with their relationships with directors and staff and less satisfied with the funding available for library materials and other expenses. Coaches at first-year sites had slightly lower ratings than coaches at second-year sites for their communication with directors. In Year 2, there was slightly less satisfaction with library material funding and slightly more satisfaction with the amount of time the coach was able to spend on site.

All but 1 or 2 directors indicated satisfaction with every aspect of LCI asked about on the survey. There were somewhat lower satisfaction levels with LCI’s financial support and with the skills taught and information provided to targeted staff, and the relationship between staff and the coach. The highest satisfaction in both years was with the relationships that coaches developed with staff and their literacy education skills.

All but 2 of the 73 staff survey respondents to a question on the Year 1 spring survey regarding the contribution of the coaching felt that it was valuable (97%), with 69% feeling that it was “very valuable.” The results for the Year 2 spring survey were very similar.

Of the 24 staff who responded to a query about what they felt should be changed about LCI in the future, nearly half suggested no change, with comments including “Extremely valuable program” and “[The coach] does a wonderful job.. Hopefully this program will be here next year as well.” Another 33% asked for “more”—including more books, time with their coach, funding, frequent meetings, and days for reading.
Staffing/Training The majority of staff who completed spring surveys felt that their skills had improved (80% in Year 1 and 77% in Year 2), they had a better understanding of the role of literacy in their program (86% in Year 1 and 79% in Year 2), and they could better manage children during read-alouds (75% in Year 1, and 72% in Year 2). Staff interviews supported these findings and also suggested that staff experienced improvements in their confidence and ability to make reading fun. Observations at the in-depth study sites also supported the idea that staff members’ enthusiasm for read-alouds improved as a result of LCI, often driven by the increased engagement of the children in these read-alouds.

Staff with higher educational backgrounds were significantly (p < .001) more likely to say that they gained skills due to LCI. In addition, staff at programs with coaches that had higher educational backgrounds and more previous teaching experience were significantly more likely to say that they had a greater understanding of the importance of literacy (p < .001).

The intensity of coaching (i.e., the more frequently staff worked with coaches) at the program site was significantly related (p < .05) to both a greater understanding of why literacy is important and better behavior management.

Staff who reported that they were more intensively involved with the literacy coaching activities were significantly (p < .05) more likely to report skill improvements in all areas in both Years 1 and 2.

According to staff surveys, working one-on-one with a coach, observing coaches model read-alouds, being observed, and getting feedback more frequently were all significantly (p < .10 to p < .001) correlated with feeling that one gained skills in conducting interactive read-alouds, increased understanding of the role of literacy, and better ability to manage youth behavior during group read-aloud activities. The only measure of LCI participation that was not related to increased skills was participation in workshops in Year 1.

Staff who reported that their coach was “very valuable” on the spring survey also were significantly (p < .5) more likely to report increases in their read-aloud skills. These findings were also found when intensity of one-on-one coaching was measured through coaches’ logs.

Every director agreed that the skills of staff who were coached one-on-one improved, and most thought the coached staff were more excited about reading aloud as a result of LCI.

A majority of directors agreed that the read-aloud skills of their non-coached staff improved, but this varied widely, with only 2 program directors strongly agreeing that there was a “spillover effect” of the coaching to other staff. Further, less than half of the coaches agreed (and none strongly agreed) that skills were taught to noncoached staff.

When asked about changes they observed in program staff that they would attribute to their coaching, coaches noted that staff began to embrace the read-aloud skills and incorporate them into their “personal styles when reading aloud” and that the read-aloud sessions were characterized by “higher quality, better selection of books, and sharing resources.” In terms of specific skills, coaches mentioned that staff understood the importance of planning for read-alouds, such as “reading the books before hand and planning when to stop to elicit student talk.” Other benefits to staff noted by coaches included enthusiasm, confidence, preparedness, and a sense of ownership over the programs’ libraries.

Among staff for whom read-aloud observations were available for all time points, there were gains in read-aloud skills in all areas (varying pace, using eye contact and body language, asking youth to make predictions about the story, clarifying important words, and monitoring the engagement of youth) in both Years 1 and 2.

While BPS coaches typically had considerable coaching experience in schools, they had not necessarily worked with after school programs in the past. Most of the ReadBoston staff had considerable experience coaching in after school. For 25% of coaches, it was their first year coaching in an after school program, including 1 BPS and 2 ReadBoston coaches, while 7 of the coaches (5 from BPS and 2 from ReadBoston) had been involved in coaching in after school for 3 or more years (the rest for 2 years).

All 13 of the coaches had a college degree; 8 had a graduate degree as well. In addition, 6 of the coaches, all from BPS, were certified teachers.

In Year 1, nearly one quarter of program staff (24%) had either a high school degree or were still in high school, 46% had attended college, and 20% had graduated from a 4-year college. Ten percent of staff had either attended graduate school or obtained a graduate degree. A number of the college graduates had studied education or other allied fields, and 10% were certified teachers. Staff’s educational levels in Year 2 were similar to Year 1.

In the fall of Year 1, 40% of staff had worked in the after school program for less than 1 year, and nearly all of the rest had worked there for 1 to 4 years. However, some staff had prior experience at other programs: 27% had worked in the after school field for 5 years or more. Staff experience levels were very similar in Year 2.

In Year 1, few staff worked full-time at the after school program: the average number of hours per week worked was 16. Over 90% of staff worked less than 35 hours per week, with 60% working less than 20 hours per week. About one-third of staff had other paid employment, including 24 staff who worked in a school, most commonly as paraprofessionals. Year 2 results were similar.

A number of coaches identified implementation challenges related to staffing, including staff turnover (two thirds of coaches) and variation in staff’s skill levels (45% of coaches).

In order for LCI to be successful, coaches consistently emphasized the importance of having the director on board, as well as supporting and encouraging staff in learning and using new skills and engaging in efforts to move the program toward embracing a culture that supports and promotes literacy.

Only a few staff members indicated that they did not read at all for pleasure during a typical week, while over half indicated that they read either frequently or every day.

While most staff began Year 1 feeling that they had strong skills in reading aloud to children and a high level of comfort in leading this activity, there was also a sense of room for improvement, with only 26% of staff in Year 1 and 15% in Year 2 “strongly agreeing” that their skills in read-aloud were strong.

Some staff expressed hesitation to learn the read-aloud techniques promoted by the coaches. Staff resistance was often rooted in a feeling that they could read, and therefore already had the necessary skills. However, both coaches and staff often reported that many staff reached a turning point after watching a successful read-aloud conducted by their coach. As one staff noted: “It helped me realize that the children really enjoy the read out loud routine.” Staff were often motivated to continue to work on their skills as they saw the children’s positive response.

Summative/Outcome Findings

Academic Coaches in 15 out of 20 programs in Year 1 and 16 out of 20 programs in Year 2 agreed or strongly agreed that youth were more likely to read on their own as a result of LCI.

In Year 1, 17 out of 20 coaches agreed that youth became more interested in reading and literacy, and 19 of the 20 coaches agreed in Year 2.

In Year 1, 14 out of 20 coaches believed that the literacy skills of youth improved in Year 1, and 16 of the 20 believed this in Year 2.

In focus groups and on surveys, coaches emphasized that what youth gained from having a coach in the program was a greater appreciation and enthusiasm for reading, including listening to books being read-aloud, reading on their own, and reading to each other. Some coaches also observed reluctant readers starting to “come around” and students improving word recognition. Others noted that the children seemed to listen and read with more depth or curiosity, based on how they participated in the discussions and responded to open-ended questions. Coaches also noted that by increasing the enthusiasm for reading among staff, the children were exposed to more adults and role models that valued reading.

Most staff felt that both children’s interest in and skills in literacy had improved at least somewhat over the course of the year and many felt that there had been more extensive change. Staff also noted that skills in reading improved over the year in both years.

Staff observed children reading to each other and actually using and imitating the strategies that staff used (e.g., asking questions during the book, asking for predictions, using the illustrations to provoke discussion, etc.).

Matched youth surveys indicated little change from the fall to spring in reading more often, enjoying individual or group read-alouds, or reading at home. On the Year 1 survey, youth did say they were read to in the program slightly more often in the spring than in the fall: only 23% reported “hardly ever” reading in a group in the spring, compared to 36% in the fall. Youth at sites in their 2nd year of a grant were significantly more likely (p < .05) to say that they were participating in group read-alouds more frequently.

Older youth (grades 6–8) were significantly more likely than younger youth (grades 3–5) to report that they were read to one-to-one (p < .01) and in a group (p < .01) more often in the spring than in the fall.

Though overall changes in youth’s responses on the Year 2 reading attitude survey were negative, further exploration revealed positive patterns for those items most closely related to LCI approaches and goals. Moreover, when children attended programs that conducted read-alouds more often, they were more likely to show positive changes in their attitudes toward reading. Youth with greater individual levels of participation in read-alouds, as rated by staff, also had more positive change in their reading attitudes.
Systemic Both site directors and coaches were generally optimistic that LCI’s reading techniques would be maintained. Site directors were particularly convinced that reading aloud and independent reading would continue, with 70–85% reporting that various practices were likely to continue. One half to two thirds of both coaches and site directors thought it was likely for nearly all the specified LCI practices to continue. Site directors and coaches were less optimistic about whether “showing new staff the read-aloud techniques” would continue (70% of directors and 30% of coaches reported this would be likely). Directors and coaches were also less certain about whether it was likely that they would be able to maintain the program library at its current level of organization (70% of directors and 47% of coaches found this likely).

Overwhelmingly, directors pointed to staff turnover as the major hurdle to maintaining LCI’s changes. Directors also commented on challenges related to space, changing program priorities, staff skills in English, and behavior issues with older children.

Coaches in some programs were able to create an entirely new library space within their programs. The new books and library spaces often played an important role in the initiative: they built increased buy-in from staff and children and outlasted the grant period. Even in programs where coaches had major concerns about continuation of read-alouds, they felt that the books would continue to sustain at least a minimal level of involvement in literacy.

Across the 2 years of LCI, coaches reported improvement in the program libraries’ organization. In the fall of 2004, more than half of the coaches reported that either that the program’s library was “not organized at all” or had “some classification, but it needs a lot of work.” By the spring of 2005, 15 coaches reported that the program either had a “pretty good system” or was “well organized.” Similar results were obtained in Year 2. According to site directors, nearly every library had some organizational system in the spring of Year 2.

While the size of the program, in terms of the number of youth who attended, had no relationship to reports of improvement, programs serving middle school students saw especially impressive changes relative to programs serving other age groups in their program library that were statistically significant (p<.001), based on director reports. In addition, programs served by coaches with more years of teaching experience reported greater changes in their libraries from Year 1 to Year 2.

Coaches observed improvement over the course of LCI in the quality and quantity of resources (e.g., books) available to programs. In addition, coaches reported that there was more print material on display in many programs and that there was an improvement in the types of books available (e.g., more that were appropriate to ages of children in program, more variety,, more culturally relevant). Coaches stressed that the library and the books that LCI brought to the program were important in making LCI successful.

The majority of directors felt that changes occurred in their program’s “culture of literacy” in Year 1. In particular, 85% of directors agreed or agreed strongly that “in the future the structure of the after school program will include more time for literacy;” 80% agreed or agreed strongly that “due to LCI, their program has become more focused on literacy”; and 70% of directors agreed or agreed strongly that they would “hire staff with experience in literacy in the future.” These results were echoed in Year 2.

In the fall of Year 1, nearly 75% of staff felt that their program had the right amount of focus on literacy, with 14% saying it had too little (7% had no opinion). By the spring, the satisfied group had increased to 85%, and only 4% still felt there should be more focus on literacy.

In the fall of Year 2, coaches reported that 2 programs had “little emphasis on literacy,” 11 had “some emphasis,” and the remaining 8 had “a great deal of emphasis.” By the spring, no programs had “little emphasis,” and 4 programs had increased their emphasis, as reported by coaches (2 programs, both in their 1st year of funding, were judged to have reduced their emphasis from “a great deal” to “some”).

Site directors reported that the following strategies would help them sustain changes caused by LCI: (a) build literacy time into the schedule; (b) continue the work over the summer for those with summer programs; (c) continue to find a way to purchase new books and network with other literacy-oriented staff and programs; and (d) appoint or hire a designated literacy staff to be responsible for functions such as maintaining the library, training new staff, and ensuring that read-alouds and other literacy activities occurred as planned. In addition, many noted that sustained funding for more than 1 year would help programs move forward faster in subsequent years and continue LCI activities.

Data from site visits, coach focus groups, and surveys indicated that the touchback model could be highly effective at sustaining LCI’s gains under the following conditions: program stability, dedicated staff, and especially a director willing to take leadership on the literacy activities. At its best, touchback supported the institutionalization of literacy practices into the program and even the larger organization.

Coaches employed a number of strategies to support sustainability, including: taking staff to the book mobile so that they could become acquainted with it, placing stickers in books saying “this book belongs to [name of program],” meeting with site directors to discuss plans, helping directors designate a particular staff person to maintain the library, scheduling literacy blocks for the summer and/or fall, going over the LCI site binder with directors, and making sure that the director would take responsibility for ensuring that scheduled literacy times were actually held in the future. In a number of cases, coaches were very pro-active about helping directors plan for the end of the grant.

Coaches, site directors, and staff all agreed that continued contact with coaches and LCI would help sites maintain progress over time.
Youth Development Staff observed an improvement in youth’s behavior during the read-aloud sessions.


© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project