Summer is a great time to step back from the classroom, take a moment to catch your breath and reflect on the progress of the past school year. With a little bit of distance from the stacks of homework packets, wiggly kiddos and never-ending lists of to-dos, it’s easier to participate in some self-guided professional development. Here are four books that made a big impact on my teaching when I enjoyed them with the clarity that summer can bring.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
By: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This book really gets to the heart of the matter: helping adults to make their words meaningful and helping children to express themselves effectively. There are many concrete examples and scenarios, including cartoons detailing with situations that will resonate with anyone who works with children. Each section ends with a one-pager called “A Quick Reminder…” This is a great reference sheet to come back to at a later time.
By: Kathy Collins
Reader’s Workshop is an engaging and effective model for reading instruction, but diving in can feel intimidating. This book breaks down the logistics, units of study and execution of Reader’s Workshop for any teacher who wants to begin this structure or take it to the next level. I was motivated by the anecdotes the author tells to set a vision for how powerful Reader’s Workshop can be.
Letters to a Young Teacher
By: Jonathan Kozol
Written by the author of Savage Inequalities and Amazing Grace, this book is a series of letters from Mr. Kozol to a beginning teacher working in Boston. Through his funny stories, encouragement and advice, Jonathan Kozol reminds us all why teaching children is such a special and beautiful job.
And one book I look forward to reading this summer:
On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope
By: Richard Whitmire
Longtime education reporter Richard Whitmire explores the world of collaborative charter schools. Highlighting pockets of innovation around the country, this book is a great read to better understand the bigger picture of the charter school movement, complete with its struggles and triumphs.
Katherine is an Assistant Principal at Los Sueños Academy. She grew up in the Bay Area and then attended college at Wake Forest University where she studied history and Spanish. After graduation, Katherine taught first grade for three years in Alum Rock School District in San Jose, and then taught first grade for two more years at Los Sueños. When she’s not at school, she likes to cook, read and spend lots of time outside.