Recommended Books

Scroll down the page for book titles about teaching and learning, math, literacy, Whole Language, miscue analysis, and life in general.

Newly-Added and Featured Books....

A Printable List of Teacher Favorites ~ Click here!

Teaching Conflict Resolution Through Children's Literature (Grades k-2) ~ William J. Kreidler, James Graham Hale. Scholastic Professional Books, 1999 ~ This teacher's resource is filled with activities based in popular children's books. It includes all needed resources and additional titles for extending activities.

What Happened to Recess and Why Are Our Children Struggling in Kindergarten? ~ Susan Ohanian ~ Explains the misguided mania for testing children, why a child's success or failure is currently determined by a set of tests, and what parents are doing to change public policy on education.

Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum: How Ideology Trumped Evidence ~ Edited by Richard L. Allington, University of Florida (Heinemann) ~ In this timely and important book, nationally-recognized reading researcher Richard Allington tracks and questions the 30-year campaign that has focused on testing, accountability, and federalization education. He and other educators, including Jim Cunningham, Michael Pressley, Elaine Garan, and Patrick Shannon, have contributed articles that provide an overview of past and recent federal education policies, including the NRP Report and associated legislation and policy making.

...about teaching and learning...

Failing at Fairness - How Our Schools Cheat Girls ~ Myra and David Sadker ~ A very thought-provoking book about how boys and girls are treated differently in the classroom, oftentimes in very subtle ways.
The Lifelong Learner ~ Ronald Gross ~ a book about the process of self-education and non-traditional forms of education for adults who want to continue their learning process as a lifelong process. (This book is out of print, so if you find it... wooo hooo!)
The Manufactured Crisis ~ David C. Berliner & Bruce J. Biddle ~ This book dispels many of the myths about the decline of American education, and how this idea was created and disseminated.
No Contest - The Case Against Competition ~ Alfie Kohn ~ Find out how punishments and rewards can undermine the learning process.
The Schools Our Children Deserve ~ Alfie Kohn ~ Concerned about the rush to
develop standards and high stakes testing, and leaving what we know to be good for children behind? This book is validating, inspiring, and depressing all in the same book cover. It will strengthen your desire to make education better, and fight off the current political/pseudo-educational trends. A great read for every voting citizen and/or parent.
Starting from Scratch ~ Steven Levy ~ Discover how Mr. Levy and his students actually built a classroom from the ground up.

...about math ...

How Big is the Moon? ~ Dave Baker, Cheryl Semple, & Tony Stead ~ Whole maths in action.
Making Sense: Teaching and Learning Mathematics With Understanding ~ James Hiebert (Editor), et al (Paperback - April 1997), ~ Addresses the characteristics of holistic math programs or philosophies and then describing them in detail.
Mathematical Power: Lessons From a Classroom ~ Ruth E. Parker ~ Thoughts on making mathematics education meaningful.

..about literacy, in support of Whole Language...

The Art of Teaching Reading ~ Lucy McCormick ~ Lucy McCormick Calkins brings love, laughter and energy to literacy instruction. Calkins manages to blend vignette, theory and practice into a seamless read. If there were time to read only one book related to reading instruction in the elementary classroom, this would the book I would recommend.
The Art of Teaching Writing
~ Lucy McCormick Calkins ~ Everything you ever wanted to know about Writers' Workshop, and more.
Beginning to Read and the Spin Doctors of Science : The Political Campaign to Change America's Mind About How Children Learn to Read ~ Denny Taylor ~ If you aren't already angry at the inequities in schools across the country, at the lies perpetuated by "scientific researchers," politicians & publishers & businessmen, this book will do the trick. The biases inherent in Barbara Foorman's "research" about Open Court are laid bare.
Beyond Reading and Writing: Inquiry and Multiple Ways of Knowing ~ Beth Berghoff, Jerome Harste, Kathy Egawa and Barry Hoonan ~ This book is full of classroom descriptions of inquiry at work. The teachers have the children using multiple sign systems (art, music, movement) to construct deeper meanings in focused studies. The students, not standards or disciplines, are the basis from which curriculum is drawn.
Building a Writing Community: A Practical Guide ~ Marcia S. Freeman ~ a comprehensive and easy-to-use resource that halps create and maintain an effective classroom writers workshop. Its practical approach explains how to teach young writers style and genre characteristics, composing skills, conventions and the many aspects of the writing process itself.
Craft Lessons ~ Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi ~This book is filled with strategy lessons for teaching craft. For those of us who have trouble thinking up good mini-lessons, this book will help jog your memory, and give you ideas that you can tailor to the needs of your own class.
Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers ~ Harste, Short and Burke ~ So much is here. A textbook for learning about whole language, inquiry, and reading and writing. A must have reference book, complete with many how to's for teaching inquiry, reading and writing. This is an open-and- understand-something-new each time, book.
Doing Words ~ Katie Johnson ~ Katie Johnson uses the methods learned from Sylvia Ashton Warner's work with children and writing. Especially appropriate for primary and preschool, she shows how a teacher takes children through the writing process from key words to finished pieces.
A Fresh Look At Writing ~ Donald Graves ~ Graves invites teachers to examine craft and process in a workshop approach to writing through a series of invitations, exercises, in a sense. While a quick read might satisfy, a leisurely read that allows time for responding and reflecting on the invitations will surely be more meaningful.
The Grammar of Fantasy: An Introduction to the Art of Inventing Stories ~ Gianni Rodari ~ Gianni Rodari gave a series of lectures to teachers in the childcare program at Reggio Emilia, which evolved into this book. It shows that fantasy stories are made of other stories, and of the interactions between words which immediately set up a reaction in the human brain to seek connections. The book leads its reader to make new stories with children, and is a delight.
How's It Going ~ Carl Anderson ~ Carl Anderson gives us an in-depth look at the conferring part of Writer's Workshop. Through numerous examples, he explores what happens, what is said, and how to say it. The teacher uses a research, decide, teach, strategy to confer. By reading this book, one has the chance to see first hand how powerful the conference can be in helping a child to be a better writer.
In the Company of Children ~ Joanne Hindley ~ Joanne Hindley discusses writing as well as reading workshop in her book. She, like Carl Anderson, Randy Bomer, Isoke Nia and Lucy Calkins, was part of the Teacher College Writing Project. This book is loaded with ideas for mini-lessons and genre studies, conferring, and assessing in both workshops.
Invitations ~ Regie Routman ~ Routman's book is stocked with ideas for reading and writing. It was one of the first books I read when I wanted to find out more about teaching from
a whole language perspective. She gives many strategies and examples of how to and what to do. A good one to keep for reference.
Joyful Learning ~ Bobbi Fisher ~ is the book that brought me to whole language. It is a wonderful book for anyone who is teaching kindergarten for the first time. When I switched grade levels and became a kindergarten teacher, this book sat on my bed stand and was my
guiding light that first year. It is still one of the best books around.
Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop ~ Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmermann ~ Mosaic of Thought is a very thoughtful and thought-provoking book on the teaching of reading comprehension. Unlike many education books the authors weave poetry and
other reading selections into the writing of their book. They use the poetry to talk about how we as adults (and good readers) approach reading and our own struggles to build comprehension. In the book they introduce the various techniques that good readers use to help them comprehend what they read and then they take us into different classrooms where teachers are introducing
these techniques to their students.
Pay Attention to the Children: Lessons for Teachers and Parents from Sylvia Ashton-Warner ~ Sydney Gurewitz Clemens ~ Clemens has studied Ashton-Warner's writing and her life. She explains the contributions of Ashton-Warner: Key Vocabulary, an emphasis on creativity, and peace education, connecting it with her own work and that of other contemporary authors in Early Childhood Education, especially Vivian Gussin Paley. Ashton-Warner is depicted as a very imperfect person who made substantial contributions to our thinking about young children.
Radical Reflections ~ Mem Fox ~ This is a "must read!" It's an easy-to-read, entertaining, and very inspirational little volume filled with Mem Fox's thoughts on teaching reading and writing. Mem Fox is a superb storyteller, drawing the reader in to the magic of writing, and once there, keeping one hooked with expert advice on good reasons to write, why she writes, and how important audience is to writers.
Reading With Meaning ~ Debbie Miller ~ dealing with comprehension in the primary grades, this book puts a primary helps put a primary perspective on Mosaic of Thought and Strategies That Work.
Teacher ~ Sylvia Ashton Warner ~ This bestseller was translated into seventeen languages. It is a passionate account of a New Zealand white teacher, who studied the Maori children she taught, and invented a way of teaching them which worked, because it was based in matters of great importance to them. A classic, written by a woman sometimes called the "mother of whole language."
Teaching the Youngest Writers ~ Marcia Freeman ~ For those just beginning their journey into writing workshop in the primary classroom, this book is great.
What A Writer Needs ~ Ralph Fletcher ~ Now that my students are writing, how do I help them improve the quality of that writing? What A Writer Needs answers that concern. In engaging anecdotal prose, Ralph Fletcher provides a wealth of specific, practical strategies for challenging and extending student writing. There are chapters on details, the use of time, voice,
character, beginning and endings, among others. The work of student and professional writers is sprinkled throughout the book, and a generous bibliography of picture books and novels is provided.
Wondrous Words ~ Katie Wood Ray ~ Katie says writing is something you do, not something you know, and that children must be taught to read like writers -- to notice, to make a theory, give language to, make connections and envision doing those crafty things in one's own writing. Ray differentiates the type of reading done in a 'readerly way' with that done in a 'writerly way' and illustrates the impact of learning to read in writerly way on classroom instruction and writing. She teaches us to help children do writing by studying the craft of writers, and trying some of those things in our own writing. In short, Katie Wood Ray teaches writing as inquiry. She includes many texts and teaching stories to illustrate how she used literature to teach craft.
Word Journeys ~ Kathy Ganske ~ worth the price just for the assessments and classroom documentation of word study progress.
Words Their Way ~ Donald R. Bear (Author), Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, Francine Johnston ~ This book contains a very good spelling inventory that helps you "place" your students on a spelling continuum. It also contains ideas and activities for addressing these differing levels in your classroom and setting up individualized spelling work.
The Writing Workshop: Working Through the Hard Parts, and They are All Hard Parts ~ Katie Wood Ray ~ In this book, Katie discusses and gives examples of all aspects of the Writing Workshop, from setting up the classroom, to mini-lessons, conferring, genre and craft studies. Examples of how to do this abound.
of invitations, exercises, in a sense. While a quick read might satisfy, a leisurely read that allows time for responding and reflecting on the invitations will surely be more meaningful.

... especially relating to miscue analysis....

Windows Into Literacy: Assessing Learners K-8 ~ Lynn K. Rhodes and Nancy L. Shanklin (Heineman)
Reading Miscue Inventory: Alternative Procedures ~ Goodman, Yetta with D. Watson, C. Burke. New York: Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc., 1987.
Retrospective Miscue Analysis ~ Goodman, Yetta with Ann M. Marek. Katonah, NY: Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc., 1996.
"Miscue Analysis for Classroom Teachers: Some History and Some Procedures" Primary Voices, Volume 3, Number 4, November, 1995, p.2-9.

..... additional titles on literacy ~ if you have a review of any of the following, please email it to me at

Breathing In: Breathing Out ~ Fletcher
Building A Writing Community: A Practical Guide ~ Marcia S. Freeman
For the Good of Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry ~ Georgia Heard
For a Better World: Reading and Writing for Social Action ~ Randy and Katherine Bomer
A Garden of Poets: Poetry Writing in the Elementary Classroom ~ Mary K. Glover
Ideas for Spelling ~ Diane Snowball
Investigating Nonfiction ~ Donald Graves
Is That a Fact? ~ Tony Stead
Lasting Impressions ~ Shelly Harwayne.
Lifetime Guarantees: Toward Ambitious Literacy ~ Shelley Harwayne
Living Between the Lines ~ Lucy Calkins
Making a Difference : Selected Writings of Dorothy Watson
~ Sandra Wilde
Picturing Learning: Artist and Writers in the Classroom ~ Karen Erenst
Primary Literacy Centers; Making Reading and Writing STICK ~ Susan Nations (co-author)
Reading Without Nonsense
~ Frank Smith
Resisting Reading Mandates ~ Elaine Garan
Side by Side: Essays on Teaching to Learn ~ Nancie Atwell
So Much Stuff, So Little Space- Organizing the Learner-Centered Classroom ~ Susan Nations (co-author)
Teaching Spelling ~ Diane Snowball
What's Whole about Whole Language
~ Ken Goodman
Whole Language: Inquiring Voices ~ Dorothy Watson
The Whole Story ~ Brian Cambourne

 ...and how about life, learning, and being human?

Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ~ Robert Persig ~ People seem to either love or hate this book. Part essay, part travelog, part biography, it is filled with contemplations in the making.

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