With less than a month left of school, I am starting to plan my summer. Like many other teachers, I use my “downtime” in the summer to catch up on my professional reading. Doing this in the summer is a good idea for a couple of different reasons. First, I actually have time to sit down and READ, since I don’t have papers to grade or lesson plans to write. Second, I tend to spend my summer reflecting on the year past and figuring out how I can make my next year better. A great deal of thinking goes into this, and reading books about my craft helps me to keep my teaching fresh.
This summer will be a bit different for me. I’m moving into a literacy coach position at my school after 18 years as a seventh grade language arts teacher. While a great deal of my professional reading will be about reading and writing, I’ll also be reading about coaching and professional development.
Want to see what’s on my Summer To-Be-Read bookshelf?
Talk About Understanding by Ellin Oliver Keene (Heinemann, 2012). I have been privileged to work with Ellin as part of the professional development offered by my school district. She is just so smart, and she writes about comprehension in a way that makes me think about my practice. I’m looking forward to reading her new book as a way of improving my conversations with students and teachers.
Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms by Steven Zemelman, Harvey Daniels, and Arthur Hyde (Heinemann, 2012). Just as I have been honored to know Ellin, I have been lucky to work with Steve Zemelman and the Illinois Writing Project. This book will be invaluable to me in my coaching capacity, as it examines best practice across content areas, not just in literacy.
Pathways to the Common Core by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman (Heinemann, 2012). Because Illinois is one of the states to adopt the Common Core State Standards, school districts across the state (as well as across the nation) are looking to unpack the standards and align curriculum. This book has been touted as one of the best ones out there to examine the standards and break them down in a common sense way as well as show how classroom teachers can use these standards to raise the level of achievement in their classrooms. I’ve looked to Lucy Calkins as a mentor for a long time, and I have high hopes for this book.
Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals by Diane Sweeney (Corwin Press, 2010) I will admit to having read part of this book in a book study in my school district. Diane works with the lab teachers and coaches, and we read and discussed parts of this book during one of our meetings. Now that I am moving into the coaching role full time, I will read the entire book as part of my preparation. It’s a very reader-friendly book with lots of practical advice.
The only downside to tackling these books in the summer is that I won’t necessarily have anyone to talk them over with. I find my thinking about professional reading goes so much deeper when I have a colleague or two to process with. I’m open to an online book club if anyone would like to join me!
What’s on your Summer To-Be-Read list?