An Interview with Lindsey McDermott, Groves Literacy Partnerships Coach

Lindsey has been in elementary education for 15 years. Her passion and work experience mainly revolves around closing the literacy achievement gap and serving low-income communities and children of color. Lindsey has seen how students thrive with quality instruction throughout her career. Lindsey began her educational career through Teach for America in Philadelphia and continued to work as an elementary school teacher, then a reading specialist, and now a coach in Philadelphia, Trenton, and the Twin Cities.

The Groves Method curriculum is leveling the playing field by providing the teachers and the students the resources and training they need. We are working to close the literacy achievement gap.

What does it look like to be a coach at a partner school?

A large portion of being a coach is to make sure the classroom educator is teaching the Groves Method curriculum with fidelity. In the first year with a partner school, I do a lot of modeling. During a lesson, I may stop and explain why the Groves Method curriculum is taught in a specific manner. An example of this is why we have our students tap out phonemes on their fingers.  I explain that we do this because there are more nerve endings in their fingers and that helps build the pathways in the students’ brains.

I model small groups in the classroom so the teacher can support struggling students with a targeted reteach of previously taught content. I also work with interventionists who target the most struggling readers in pull-out instruction.

I hold team meetings for each partner school I support and follow up with classroom teachers. 

How many schools and teachers are you coaching?

I work with seven GLP partner schools and coach 36 teachers. 

What kind of progress do you see with the students and teachers – tell examples of how you saw this program
at work? 

One big thing I see is that Kindergarten students who are using our curriculum are actually starting to read! 

I also have a 2nd-grade classroom where almost every student in the class is working independently and understanding the material, and that is a success! 

 How do you see the GLP’s work impacting the whole classroom (outside of children learning to read)? Specifically the teachers and the students?

Groves Literacy Partnerships starts with a focus on whole-class instruction as this allows us to reach the most students. We also provide coaching for small groups and interventionists, since we know some students will need more individualized help to master the necessary skills to be a competent reader. 

Groves Method curriculum is rooted in the Science of Reading which in part identifies the good and bad habits of reading instruction. We are changing teachers’ mindsets on how to teach reading, which in turn has students avoiding bad habits and leading them to start learning to read in the correct way. 

Why is GLP important for MN and our country? 

The State of Minnesota has one of the worst reading achievement gaps in the nation between children of color and white students, and high income students vs. low income students. This is not the fault of our educators, as often they are not provided with a reading curriculum based in the science of reading or effective teacher education preparation programs.  The Groves Method curriculum is leveling the playing field by providing the teachers and the students the resources and training they need. We are working to close the literacy achievement gap. We have an engaging curriculum which keeps students excited to learn. Our curriculum holds students accountable and provides professional development to teachers about the science of reading.  

 What do you think is possible with good
literacy instruction?

I truly believe that the achievement gap we have in Minnesota and our country between students of color vs. white students and students with a high income vs. low income would significantly decrease with good literacy instruction. We can close that gap so that all students can read at grade level by the end of 2nd grade! 

What are your hopes and dreams for this program? 

I hope we expand into even more public schools and expand our program nationally. 

This interview originally appeared in 2022 Connections.

Groves Literacy PartnershipsGroves Literacy Partnerships is proud to be working together with 64 schools in the greater Twin Cities area, cutting across all demographics, and serving over 8,000 K-3rd grade students just this year, delivering powerful reading and literacy instruction.

Learn more about becoming a Groves Literacy Partner.

Request information about Pre-K–3rd-grade Literacy Partnerships.



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