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  • Josh Arnold

Summer Reading for Teachers

Can making adjustments to your teaching really impact the students you will see in the fall?



I’m a teaching nerd. Which means when I choose to read a book, it usually is a book about teaching. I’m also a change enthusiast. However, I’m generally aware that in teaching, change can lead to change-burnout. When a new program or process gets rolled out at a staff meeting there can be a general change in body language and a few grumbles that indicate some are not happy about doing yet another teaching task. Or changing up what they already view as effective.


Let’s take a quick look at where change happens. Outside of teaching changes happen in order to make a fix at the right time and in the right order. In the sports world coaches will make changes in the off season that will impact the regular season. Signing the right free agent to complete a roster can win a championship. Likewise, in the business world a change in business practices can offer declining sales a boost. One aspect of our lives that is always changing is the tech world. The tools we use to create such as laptops and smartphones are always updating to fix software bugs or enhance security.


At the heart of some major changes in history has been a good book.


By my own estimate, summer reading for teachers can have the same impact that changes or updates make in other fields. The school year isn’t a fruitful time when it comes to time for teachers. However, during the school year you are likely to encounter names of interesting books. When this happens to me I end up writing the title down in my notebook or adding it to my Amazon cart for when I do have time. When the time comes, I get to all the titles I didn’t have time for just a few weeks earlier.


Here are three titles I really enjoyed reading this summer. Along with a few thoughts I have about each.


“Best Practices at Tier 2” Supplemental Interventions for Additional Students Support

Solution Tree Press


Even though the idea of Response to Intervention (RTI) has been around for a while now, I admittedly don’t know much about the entire process. This book does a good job of breaking down what every teacher can do to support students at risk. I like that it offers practical ideas on how each strategy works rather than a listing and the research study alone. I’m ready to put a few of these strategies to use right away.


“Fair Isn’t Always Equal” Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom

Rick Wormeli


My teaching style is student-centered with a focus on personalized learning and instruction. Many of the things I am currently doing in the classroom this book highlights. Which might sound like this book is a waste of time for me, however it is not. There are many aspects of my current teaching practice touched on in this book that I did not consider. I’m only halfway through the book so I expect to uncover more very shortly.


What School Could Be

Ted Dintersmith


This book shines a very bright light on the impact of standardized testing on our students and it’s not always good. It offers compelling testimony, from the writer’s year-long trip around the nation, that the best solution to education might be innovation. And the people who might best offer this innovation are the educators themselves.

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