We are only about 25% of the way through the year, but there has already been a number of exciting books published in the world of education. From scholarly books to practical guides and straight-talking classroom help to intellectual political thought, there is something new to be found for every type of teacher leader.
Reading is not only a great example for our students, it is also an ongoing, self-guided professional learning opportunity. We cannot all get on a plane to hear Robert Marzano speak or attend the latest conference on differentiated learning, but we can all spend a few dollars on a great book that will help us to become better teachers.
Here are some of the year’s best books that are hot off the presses and bound to stimulate the mind:
- Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom by Fisher, Frey, and Hattie
Researcher John Hattie has written several books around the topic of Visible Learning. As a classroom teacher, this is profound information about the craft of teaching and the science behind it. If anyone questions the “research” behind Visible Learning, once they dig deep into the meta-analysis used, it is clear that there are true, deep implications for learning. This book focuses on literacy and how it is applied through the constructs outlined in the original Visible Learning book. Teaching Literacy has a K-12 focus and is something every type of classroom teacher can learn from.
- For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Dr. Christopher Emdin
If you haven’t heard of Dr. Emdin and the #HipHopEd movement he is known for, he’s definitely worth following. His writings are something like a WuTang Clan meets Madeline Hunter mashup with dash of STEM thrown in for good measure. The book is challenging, relevant, funny, and at times extremely practical. Even if you don’t work with urban youth or in an urban setting, the call to relevance is for all educators.
- The New Art and Science of Teaching: More Than Fifty New Instructional Strategies for Academic Success by Robert Marzano
Do we really need another Marzano book to add to our stack of classics? The answer is yes. This book pivots in a way that many educators today are turning—away from the behaviors and actions of adults and toward the behaviors and actions of students. This insightful book offers strategies for meeting students’ needs both educationally and psychologically. It also contains practical answers to tough questions about teaching and learning.
- The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols
As we help our students to navigate the increasingly complex world of “information” on the Internet, this book can help us to consider the implications of how we do this. Nichols’s writing is intellectually stimulating and something educators should consider. It is not a book about learning and teaching, but is definitely a book about thinking and how we process information.
- Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst
These authors have been treating readers to practical, useful close reading strategies for fiction and non-fiction over the past few years. Notice and Note and Reading Nonfiction are both great tools for teachers of students in upper elementary and secondary classrooms. Disrupting Thinking moves from the technical side into the engagement side, providing readers with tools for engaging students while they read. If you have apathetic students and reluctant readers, this humorous book is for you. It helps teachers to see the bigger picture of motivating students to become lifelong readers.
- Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why by Paul Tough
Ok, this one is cheating because was published last year—but it is less than a year old! It's a book that I've read twice, so I have to share its power. It has changed the way I look at my students, my teachers, and my school environment. We rarely realize the power we have to change a culture in a school, and by creating both great teaching (pedagogy) and connected relationships with students (a sense of belonging), we can make amazing things happen for our students. His book was so great, in my opinion, it made my list of Best Books for Teachers and Administrators, too.
There are sure to be many more great books that are introduced throughout the year. As we read through this early set, we will be ready for the next round of stimulating ideas that can help all of us as professionals. Happy reading!
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