Tag Archives: books

Summer Reading List: 6 Books to Get You Movin’ and Groovin’

Hey there! Long time no see.

Sorry I haven’t dropped by with a post in a bit. Busy end of school year filling in for a teacher, lots of work on this year’s planner, and just some down time needed. But, I’ve got a few weeks of summer under my belt and I’m ready to get back to movin’ and groovin’!

Let’s kick things off with a summer reading list shall we?


One of my favorite things to do over the summer to keep my saw sharp, is to grab a good book and learn something new.

Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High Impact Instruction

So I’ve been coaching for six years now, and I still haven’t tried out video coaching. I know! Have you?? I’m aware of how much there is to learn from watching yourself on video from all the work I did with my Coaching Workshop, but I haven’t given it a good go in working with teachers. And I think it’ll just be great!

I’ve got “Focus on Teaching” out on the patio with me and I’ve just started digging in. There’s a lot to learn, but who better to guide me than Jim Knight?!

Lead Like a Pirate: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff

I heard Dave Burgess talk about his book “Teach Like a Pirate” on a Podcast and was immediately hooked by his energy and enthusiasm for teaching. So I grabbed the book, and had a lot of fun reading it. Then I heard about the “Lead Like a Pirate” book coming out in following Beth Houf and knew I wanted to check it out.

I just walked down to the library yesterday with Sombra dog to pick it up, and I’m excited to learn from Beth and Shelly’s approachable writing style. You know how some leadership books are just so dang serious?? This one is totally the opposite of that which I appreciate.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

I forget where I heard about this one from, but it’s been on my “to read” list for awhile. Just got it a few days ago from Amazon, and I’m so glad I ordered it. It’s all about one of the most important things we do as coaches…asking good questions!! And according to this book, saying less and asking more is what it’s all about. The chapters are broken down by the 7 types of questions to focus on: the Kickstart Question, the AWE Question, the Focus Question, the Foundation Question, the Lazy Question, the Strategic Question, and the Learning Question. Can’t wait!

Taking the Lead: New Roles for Teachers and School-Based Coaches

You know the lesson Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover? This book proves this lesson true. Upon first glance, you might perceive this book to be an oldie and not so much of a goodie. But not so!! This book is so good! Tons of real, actionable advice and tips. I started reading it just before school got out, and can’t wait to keep going this summer. I think this is one of those books I’ll read page-by-page, cover-to-cover. That’s when you know you’ve got a worthy book on your hands.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

I’m a big Cal Newport fan. He’s a teacher (professor actually), loves to talk about productivity (yes!), and he has a super popular blog/biz on the side (I’m working on it!). Anyhow, Cal writes some really good books. His first, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” is one of my all time favorites, and his second, “Deep Work” lays the smack down on the how and why of treating your time with some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

I listened to “Deep Work” on audio and loved it so much I bought the book so I could dig back in a little deeper. Building in more time for Deep Work in our schedules is a must if we want to create and contribute great ideas and work to share with others.

Big Little Lies

Because, we can’t forget about the fun stuff!! And this book is so fun. I’ve been staying up late into the night, with this page turner. It’s a murder mystery, but it’s also funny. My sister totally disagrees, but whatever, we can have different opinions. And in MY opinion this is a great summer read to check out! After I finish, I’ll probably binge-watch the first season on Netflix.

So whoop, there it is! Hope you enjoyed this little book list, and have a thought for a book you might grab, and start reading. If there’s one you think should definitely be added to the list, share in the comments below!

Talk to you soon! – promise :)



Psst – For more reading inspiration, check out these posts. And don’t forget about the Resources Page!

6 Books on My Summer Reading List. And How I Chose Them.

5 New Books to Add to Your Reading List

My Top 5 Resources for Instructional Coaches. Plus a Few More Good Ones.

5 New Books to Add to Your Reading List

I’m always on the hunt for new books to help sharpen my saw and I’ve recently found a few worth sharing.

Here is a list of 5 books I’ve found myself digging back into on a regular basis to help me answer questions, guide my coaching, and just work smarter.


Leverage Leadership, by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools

leverage leadershipI heard about this one through the Coaching Teachers course I took on Coursera. As soon as I saw Orin {course facilitator} had recommended it, I jumped right on Amazon to purchase it! The chapter of the book that I’ve gravitated the most towards, is on Observation and Feedback. Reading through this chapter, in conjunction with the Coaching Teachers course, gave me a new way to frame my debrief conversations: probing questions to ask, examples of bite sized and high leverage action steps and building in time for practice/implementation.

It’s been super motivating for me to continue to push myself in the area of effective feedback. With each coaching conversation, I feel like I’m getting a little better, and this book has been helpful with that. Oh, and it comes with videos of coaching conversations which I’ve watched and rewatched.

Leverage Leadership by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo


Transformational Literacy

Making the Common Core Shift with Work that Matters

transI’ve been trying to get my hands on as much information as I can related to the Common Core and close reading of complex texts. And this book nails both areas on the head! The information it’s provided on the instructional sequence of close reading {in text and on video} has been super helpful for a current coaching cycle I have going with a 4th grade teacher. We started by watching the video provided, doing some reading, and then thought about what parts would make sense to apply in the context of our work.

If you’re studying Common Core instruction at your school the book includes a professional development guide you can use. It’s more aligned to upper grades, so if you’re looking for primary Common Core, this one probably won’t be the most helpful.

Transformational Literacy by Ron Berger, Libby Woodfin


Great Habits Great Readers

A Practical Guide for K-4 Reading in the Light of the Common Core

great habitsSpeaking of Common Core in primary, this book has been a great resource for me in this area. It’s the first, and so far only book I’ve found that speaks specifically to reading instruction as it relates to the CC standards.

The section on guided reading is especially good and I’ve been referring to it frequently through my coaching with teachers. What I think I’ve especially appreciated in the book is the emphasis it places on identifying next steps and choosing texts for students based on Lexile levels or bands. We’ve relied on the traditional Fountas & Pinnell leveling system for so long, it’s a push to think about text selection differently, but a good push I think. And I’ve got a lot more to learn in this area.

Great Habits Great Readers by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, Aja Settles, Juliana Worrell


Leaders of their Own Learning

Transforming Schools Through Student Engaged Assessment

leadersIf you’re interested in learning more about student engaged assessment, this is your book. Using data consistently and effectively with students is huge! Yet, this is an approach to assessment that many of us aren’t taking advantage of. I did some work with this book at the beginning of the year when I was teaching half-day, and I wished I’d had more time to put my learning into practice, as I had only just started to dip my toes into what could be done.

If you’re coaching and working with a more advanced teacher, this book would serve as a good push in learning, maybe for you both!

Leaders of their Own Learning by Ron Berger, Leah Rugen, Libby Woodfin


The Miracle Morning

The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8am)

morningI love routines {yep, sure do} and I’m a total early bird, so this book was right up my alley. Although I’ve always had some kind of morning routine going on, this book presented a new framework for taking full advantage of your AM time. Since reading it, I’ve done some shaking up of my own morning ritual and am working on being more consistent with it. Each morning I try to include time to work on my blog, exercise, journal, and have even started doing some visualizing of my goals.

I kind of want to write a book called “The Miracle Morning for Teachers” because I really believe it’s such an important daily ritual that supports your success and happiness in lots of different ways.

As teachers and coaches we’re giving so much of ourselves to others during the day, my vote is we give a little time to ourselves as well.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Do you have a book you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!