The perceptions of best mentoring practices in an early literacy intervention project: A case study of nine coaches

Magdalena Castaneda, Florida International University


There is significant national evidence the language development of four year-olds is a critical area for later school success (Brooks-Gunn, Fuligni, & Berlin, 2003; Cunningham, & Stanovich, 1998). This study originated as part of Literacy Intervention X (LIX), a larger national study conducted to examine the effectiveness of early literacy curricula implemented in subsidized childcare centers. The professional development of childcare center providers is key to improving the quality of subsidized care. In exploring the mentoring practices of nine LIX literacy coaches, the researcher investigated the perceptions of what best mentoring practices facilitated the implementation of literacy curricula by childcare providers. A qualitative case study was conducted using a combination of participant observer notes, document analysis, and focus group semi-structured interviews. The researcher is a participant observer, one of the nine Literacy Coaches. The best mentoring practices from the perspective of the literacy coaches are related to building relationships including trust, mutual respect, support, empathy, and encouragement with the childcare providers, the center directors, and with fellow literacy coaches. Clear, constant, and consistent communication with the childcare providers was a vital mentoring practice in building a relationship between the literacy coach and childcare provider. Another best mentoring practice in building a relationship with the childcare provider was the perceptions of the literacy coaches as co-learners in the mentoring process. The best mentoring practices highlighted in this study exemplified the kind of effective professional development that builds on the strengths of the childcare providers and does not disrupt the childcare centers or the services provided by the subsidized childcare programs that meet the needs of children and families. The experience of these nine literacy coaches, including their perceptions of effective mentoring practices, along with lesson learned about relationships, mentoring team structures, and general project design sheds light on the challenge of mentoring subsidized childcare providers in future literacy intervention projects.

Subject Area

Preschool education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Castaneda, Magdalena, "The perceptions of best mentoring practices in an early literacy intervention project: A case study of nine coaches" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3279218.