Books that Changed my Teaching Practice

My first teaching job was a torturous time nightmare growing experience. While in the midst of growing, a colleague lent me the first book that would impact my teaching style. Now (five years later), a few weeks before school starts back up I try to read one book related to education as a way to 1.) get me back in the “school” mindset and 2.) improve my practice. The one year I did not read a book I felt off. Guess what issue I struggled with the most during my first year of teaching?

The 2008 Read

Conscious Classroom Management: Unlocking the Secrets of Great Teaching by Rick Smith

This is an easy read. I read it on the subway back and forth from work within a week.

The 2009 Summer Read

Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom by Jim Fay and David Funk

I lent this book to someone and never got it back. I wasn’t even mad though because this book was a gift to be shared. I, by the way, am notorious for taking too long to return borrowed books. This book is geared towards secondary educators though!

The 2010 Summer Read

This book’s title escapes me. I will post it once I have a chance to look at my bookshelf in the States (it had to get tossed out of the suitcase when my luggage was overweight). It’s an invaluable resource for teaching writing using the 6-traits model. It also convinced me to start using portfolios as a way to assess student growth and mastery.

Update: The book is titled Teaching Writing in Middle and Secondary Schools by Jim Blasingame and John H. Bushman.

The 2011 Summer Read


I actually didn’t like this book (also about classroom management) so I won’t bother recommending it here.

The 2012 Summer Read


I felt off not reading a book before the school year started! But, I did read one while school was in session.

Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan

I read this book as a part of the AFT’s Teacher Leaders Program. I was the authors’ Amen Corner of One. I’m sure people gave me the side eye while I was mmm-hmmming during my morning commute with no shame. The book reinvigorated me! Side note: if the Teacher Leaders program is in your area, I highly recommend applying for it. It’s wonderful.

The 2013 Read

When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do by Kylene Beers

I’m currently reading this. People recommended it to me years ago. It’s the way, the light, and the truth. I’m compiling notes of her various strategies while reading the book. The majority of her strategies translate nicely between English and Social Studies (a new teaching subject for me this year).


3 thoughts on “Books that Changed my Teaching Practice

  1. I thoroughly agree with you about the Beers book. I read it after years of teaching kids with reading difficulties and it brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to apologize to every one of them for not knowing more about how to help them. I had a similar experience with Kelly Gallagher’s Teaching Adolescent Writers. It is also the way the truth and the light; I highly recommend it.

  2. There’s so much to learn about teaching literacy even when we’re “beyond” the age of teaching how to read versus teaching how to read a text in order to learn from the text. I wish I had taken more literacy based classes in graduate school. I will have to read the Gallagher book now!

  3. Pingback: Books That Changed My Teaching Practice Update | (Im)Migrating with a Purpose

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