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Supporting Teachers and Students
with Instructional Coaching

A woman learning remotely with one hand on the keyboard of a laptop computer and another hand holding a pen near a pad of paper.

Providing teachers with support with selecting and using research-based instructional strategies can come in many forms including training sessions that are delivered to an entire faculty or large group of educators. Research increasingly shows that instructional coaching, where an expert works closely in partnership with a teacher, has a greater impact on instruction than almost any other intervention and can significantly improve the effectiveness of teachers’ instruction.

Focused instructional coaching can help offset the impact of special education teacher shortages, provide support for paraprofessionals and long-term substitute teachers, and be a key part of teacher retention strategies. In addition to the personalized onboarding implementation support Building Wings provides to schools and districts using Readtopia and ReadtopiaGO, Building Wings also offers several coaching packages that give additional instructional support to educators and support staff.

Offering Coaching to Offset Special Education Teacher Shortages

Some school districts have internal instructional coaches who provide support and guidance, especially for new teachers. However, with schools facing teaching shortages, instructional coaches in some districts are being pulled into classrooms to fill teacher shortages. Using external instructional experts such as the curriculum specialists at Building Wings can offset the impact of fewer internal instructional coaches. 

Additionally, instructional coaching can be a teacher retention strategy and helps improve student outcomes during school years when additional staff can’t be hired due to budget constraints, changes in student needs, or lack of qualified applicants.
Some schools are investing in “Grow Your Own” programs as another strategy to address teacher shortages. This involves helping support staff such as custodians, classroom aides, and lunchroom workers earn the necessary credentials to become teachers. As these staff begin their new positions, they can benefit from the additional support of instructional coaching.

Providing Coaching to Long-Term Substitute Teachers

Substitute teachers, especially long-term subs for students receiving special education services may not have experience in meeting diverse needs in a classroom or recommended daily instructional routines.

A group coaching session or a train-the trainer coaching session can make a significant difference in the impact of this role and can cover best practices for optimizing the classroom environment, supporting all levels of learners within a classroom, managing small group work, or promoting independent reading.

Offering Coaching as a Teacher Retention Strategy

Instructional coaching is a personalized way to support educators. Rather than teachers spending time attending a “one-size-fits-all” professional development training, or individually learning best practices for recommended daily routines to increase literacy learning, coaching can be a time-efficient and cost effective strategy to meet the professional development needs of a teacher.
At the center of instructional coaching is applying the teacher’s needs and the unique context of the classroom to achieve the ultimate goal of enhancing student learning and well-being.

How Does Instructional Coaching Help Grow Better Teachers?

Instructional coaches play a crucial role in supporting special education teachers by providing targeted assistance, guidance, and professional development. They can also serve as valuable mentors for paraprofessionals. They benefit teachers and professionals by:

  • Providing personalized support
  • Helping teachers develop essential instructional and classroom management skills for special education classrooms, including differentiating instruction and adapting materials for diverse learners
  • Introducing teachers to evidence-based practices that include the latest research and methodologies proven to be effective in supporting students with various learning needs 
  • Facilitating collaborative learning where teachers can exchange information, share ideas, and learn from one another, creating a supportive professional learning community
  • Reducing feelings of isolation and stress by providing a support system that helps teachers avoid burnout 
  • Building confidence by recognizing teachers’ strengths and helping them overcome challenges. Increased teacher confidence correlates with more effective teaching practices and improved student outcomes. 
  • Contributing to higher levels of teacher satisfaction and support, which improves teacher retention 

How can Building Wings Help?

Building Wings provides three tiers of virtual instructional coaching to support educators who are using Readtopia and ReadtopiaGO literacy curriculum solutions. Packages available include the following which can also be tailored to the needs of a district:

  • Foundations Literacy Coaching Packages: For teachers new to teaching or new to teaching literacy. For groups of up to five educators. 
  • Exploration Literacy Coaching Packages: For groups of up to eight educators.
  • Train the Trainer Coaching Packages: Built for coaches who are supporting educators with implementation. These small group coaching sessions can include up to eight coaches.

Each package includes different components of effective literacy instruction and this Foundations Coaching Package is one example.

Foundations Literacy Instruction Coaching Package with five elements

Packages are tailored to meet the needs of new teachers, groups of educators, or those implementing Readtopia or ReadtopiaGO literacy instruction who want an extra layer of support. Each session is structured to include a 10-minute presentation around the primary topic followed by time for questions, resources, and problem-solving.

To learn more, connect with us at to discuss virtual coaching for you or your educators or complete this form to learn more about instructional coaching and a curriculum specialist will contact you to discuss your coaching needs.


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Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D.​

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D. is Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Her focus is on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities. As a special education teacher, Dr. Erickson has worked to support students with a range of disabilities in a variety of classroom settings, particularly students who do not use speech as their primary means of communication.


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