Spotlight on Statewide Literacy Coaches
The department is pleased to highlight some of the amazing literacy coaches who are focused on improving literacy around the state! As part of the LEARNS Act, the department is hiring up to 120 literacy coaches who will support teachers in their efforts to ensure all students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Literacy coaches provide direct coaching, observation, information about student progress, and feedback to teachers in K-3 classrooms and support school leaders in implementing the Science of Reading and improving literacy school-wide. To learn more about the LEARNS Act, visit https://learns.ade.arkansas.gov.
Meet Summer Hampton
Hometown: Bryant, AR
Years in Education: 13
Previous Roles: Paraprofessional, Classroom Teacher (K, 2, 3), Assistant Principal, Literacy Coordinator (ADE)
Currently Serving: Trumann Elementary School and Jonesboro Public Schools
What motivated you to become a literacy coach?
I wanted to become a literacy coach because I truly believe that every child is capable of reading and writing proficiently. Because of this belief, I wanted to be able to not only help students achieve this goal but to help teachers feel supported and successful in reaching this goal for all of their students.
What are some of the rewards you have experienced as a literacy coach?
The rewards I've experienced so far are the relationships that I've built with other literacy coaches in the state and the administrators and teachers at the buildings where I currently work. With the relationships that are being built, I believe that I will have many exciting stories to share with others in the near future.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced as a literacy coach?
I honestly haven't experienced any challenges. The state department has made sure that our team is trained and supported in helping our schools. The districts I work in have been warm and welcoming. I feel like I am a part of the school, and the best is yet to come. The schools I am working in want what's best for their students, and they want to make academic gains.
How does being a literacy coach differ from being a regular classroom teacher?
Being a literacy coach differs from being a regular classroom teacher in many ways. As a literacy coach, I am doing my best to be an expert in literacy instruction and in coaching teachers. I am using my experience and knowledge to inspire, coach, and lead teachers in how to best help their students. My husband is a football coach, and I have watched him lead and coach his team for years. I feel like I am coaching a team as well. My "team" is my team of teachers. I am also cheering my team on while I am coaching them.
What words of encouragement would you give to a young struggling reader and his/her parents?
My advice for any parent would be to have conversations and read books with your children. The more foundational skills that your children have before starting kindergarten, the more prepared they will be to have success in reading and learning in general. I also believe that if you do have young struggling readers, early intervention is key. Don't wait to intervene. Help your children as soon as possible, so they'll be successful in every academic area.
What words of encouragement do you have for other educators?
Be the champion in your students' lives every day!! "Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be." Rita F. Pierson