Kick Off Summer with a Good Professional Read

summer-bk-stack-grassby Susan Curtis and John Norton

Summer is upon us, here in the USA. We hope you will soon be able to settle in with a stack of books you’ve been looking forward to reading for months. Some fiction perhaps. And then a couple of books to grow on.

We’ve selected a dozen helpful reviews penned by the teachers, coaches, college profs and education consultants who read and write about K12 professional books for MiddleWeb. We hope that one or more of these publications will meet a PD need you’ve identified for summer investigation.

Assessment and Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Tonya Moon is a very valuable resource for beginning and veteran teachers, in general and special ed, in K-12 and university settings. It’s a book best read once then revisited periodically, says Fran Loose.

Classroom Instruction that Works with English Language Learners by Jane Hill and Kirsten Miller can help ensure that English learners are challenged at Bloom’s higher levels of thinking and understanding, with the appropriate scaffolding, writes Jennifer Underwood.

In Create Compose Connect! Jeremy Hyler and Troy Hicks present strategies that can balance the need for rigor with reading and writing in the classroom – meeting the CCSS – while still providing young people with technology that is relevant for them, says Kevin Hodgson.

It’s hard to put down Dorothy Barnhouse’s Readers Front & Center: Helping All Students Engage with Complex Texts, reviewer Jenni Miller says. The author shows teachers how to focus on the reader – not the texts, tests or correction – by using conferencing, questioning and other student-centered strategies that increase comprehension.

In Enriching Comprehension with Visualization Strategies, Jeffrey Wilhelm’s practical approach – including unique frontloading ideas for addressing prior knowledge – sets students up for using visualization techniques that can improve reading comprehension, writes Anne Anderson.

Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts and Life by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts has cured the close reading fatigue of literacy coach Katie Gordon. “I’m learning about the invisible processes I use as a reader so I can reveal them to students for whom they are not automatic.” Get a second positive opinion from Kevin Hodgson.

Intentional Talk: How to Structure and Lead Productive Mathematical Discussions by Elham Kazemi and Allison Hintz gives upper elementary educators an unparalleled look at the important role classroom discussions can play in deepening students’ mathematical understanding, as well as the tools and insights to create a culture of questioning, reports Linda Biondi.

Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley is a great workshop-focused resource for any ELA teacher who wants to cultivate lifelong reading habits and is “looking for a viable alternative to traditional instruction,” says Tyler McBride.

Susan Brookhart’s brief book, Grading and Group Work: How Do I Assess Individual Learning When Students Work Together? can help teachers assign fair individual grades when students collaborate, says Tracey Muise. It’s packed with ideas and examples for assessing group projects in various subjects.

With its thorough discussion of the impact that teacher language can have on children’s learning, the 2nd edition of The Power of Our Words: Teacher Language That Helps Children Learn by Paula Denton is a thought-provoking read no matter what grade or subject you teach, writes Jennifer Jankowski.

In To Look Closely: Science and Literacy in the Natural World, Laurie Rubin draws you into her students’ excitement as they explore sun-lit spaces outside their classroom and participate in scientific observation, journaling, poetry and discussion, writes Rebecca Buzzell.

When educators ask “what could I have done differently today to meet the needs of individual students?” they look for answers in data and assignments. RTI Is a Verb by Tom Hierck and Chris Weber breaks down the process into concrete pieces to implement in every classroom, concludes Sandy Wisneski.

Like to see more titles and more reviews? Just visit our comprehensive list, sorted by topic, at the MiddleWeb site.

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MiddleWeb is all about the middle grades, with great 4-8 resources, book reviews, and guest posts by educators who support the success of young adolescents. And be sure to subscribe to MiddleWeb SmartBrief for the latest middle grades news & commentary from around the USA.

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