Summer Book Recommendations: Teaching & Learning

As a follow-up to the leadership book recommendations we shared last week, here’s a collection of a few teaching and learning titles our instructional leaders recommended. We also included some literacy-specific titles since reading and writing are crucial in every classroom.

Our staff is reading How Children Succeed by Paul Tough. This book dives into the non-cognitive character skills needed for students to be successful to and through college. This book is a great complement to Carol Dweck’s Mindset, which discusses how some non-cognitive skills are malleable versus cognitive skills, which are less malleable.

–Johnie Flores, Dean of Instruction

Brain Rules by John Medina is a critical text for educators.  Knowing what helps prime the brain for learning is key to creating effective instruction. 

–Sarah Murphy Traylor, Professional Learning Specialist

Ready, Willing, and Able: A Developmental Approach to College Access and Success by Mandy Savitz-Romer & Suzanne Bouffard – the book focuses “on the developmental tasks and competencies that young people need to master in order to plan for and succeed in higher education.  These include identity development, articulating aspirations and expectations, forming and maintaining strong peer and adult relationships, motivation and goal setting, and self-regulatory skills, such as planning.” 

-Rhiannon Killian, Senior Director of College Initiatives

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better by Doug Lemov is a great read for anyone who wants to get better at their practice – whatever that practice may be, but especially teaching. There are lots of tips, examples, and ideas for classroom instruction, and (bonus!) it is broken up into manageable chunks so it never feels overwhelming.

-Jennifer Baugher, Director of Academics

Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Jay McTighe – this book is a great resource for thinking about how we develop our curricula and the enduring understandings we want all students to walk away with in a way that reaches all of our students. While both authors are very well known in their respective fields, this book kills two birds with one stone by explaining how the theories of curriculum design and differentiated instruction can and should work together.

-Mollie Johnson, Dean of Instruction

An oldie, but goodie Teach Like a Champion.  This book by Doug Lemov is a great read on 49 “basic” best practices to use in the classroom, and it comes with a video that highlights specific techniques.  Bonus… Teach Like a Champion 2.0 is coming out on December 15th!

-Laura Washington, Dean of Instruction

I think English instructors should consume Kelly Gallagher’s works, starting with Reading Reasons.  New and veteran teachers alike can get something from his texts, whether it’s tangible ideas or confirmation that you’re on the right track and ways to expand your practice.  A close second is Readicide, which cautions us against destroying the joy of reading through too much guidance and assessment.

-Leigh Anne Rayburn, AP English Instructor & Course Leader

Lessons that Change Writers by Nancie Atwell offers effective mini-lessons on how to teach writing in a variety of genres; this literally taught me how to be a writing teacher my first few years in the classroom – she even provides the teacher language she uses to teach the lesson and I’ve copied her verbatim before…and now.

-Allyson Haseltine, ELA Instructor & Senior Course Leader

Readers Front and Center by Dorothy Barnhouse has practical tips for encouraging complex thinking about complex texts in a variety of settings, from independent to shared reading.

-Jeremy Tullis, Middle School ELA Content Specialist
What are we missing? Add your recommendations in the comments!

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