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Books that I want to read:

Never Work Harder Than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching by Robyn R. Jackson

I’ve started reading this book twice, and I’m determined to finish it this summer.  Robyn Jackson’s philosophy about how students should be working and thinking – and our job as teachers is to facilitate that – is something I firmly believe in but struggle to make happen in my classroom.  I hope to learn a lot!

Teaching Reading and Writing

Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing by Penny Kittle

If you’ve read my posts about writing, you know this book is a personal favorite.  I’ve read it through twice and continue to come back to it time and time again both for teaching ideas and a renewed sense of inspiration and purpose.  A MUST for any English or writing teacher!

In the Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning by Nancie Atwell 

I finally read this book and I finally understood readers’ and writers’ workshop as more than a 4-5 minute mini-lesson.  If you are curious about workshop instruction, or need some tools and organizational systems, this is the book for you!

Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher

While Kelly Gallagher’s tone can be troubling to me sometimes, he really knows how to help students understand literature.  This is a great book for the English teacher who wants concrete strategies and tools for teaching literature, or the teacher who needs to know WHAT to focus on when “teaching a book.”

Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher

This book clearly and succinctly makes the case for reconsidering how we teach reading in high school, especially in the English classroom.  For a great companion text, check out this fantastic article by William J. Broz: Not Reading: The 800-Pound Mockingbird in the Classroom

Building the English Classroom: Foundations, Support, Success by Bruce M. Penniman

In this book Penniman clearly lays out a structure for the English classroom that takes into account student needs and teacher needs.  His chapter on assessment (i.e. managing papers) and writing has persuaded me to completely re-vamp my writing curriculum into a much more productive and sustainable system.  A great book for the 2nd or 15th year teacher!

Inspiration and General Teaching

The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, 10th Anniversary Edition by Parker J. Palmer

This book was recommended to me by a fantastic grad school professor.  I read part of it for my final master’s synthesis paper, but I read it all because I needed the inspiration and the reminder about why this job matters, and what it means to love teaching.

Come join the English Teacher Ning (started by Jim Burke).  It is an excellent resource for texts, tools and policy information.  And search for Marie Levey-Pabst – I would be happy to be you ning friend!

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