some professional texts and children’s literature that we’ve found particularly informative and inspiring.
- choice words and opening minds by peter johnston – two of the most powerful texts in challenging and thinking about how we use language in our classrooms (or, really, in our lives) and the impact our language has on those around us
- word nerds by brenda overturf, leslie montgomery, and margaret holmes smith – a valuable resource when planning for explicit and effective vocabulary instruction that will be fun for the kids and the teachers.
- what really matters for struggling readers by richard allington – this text has helped shape our approach to our lowest readers and given us research to cite when speaking to parents about the tremendous effects that reading time and just right books have on reading growth.
- wonder by rj palacio – our most favorite read aloud in fourth grade. this is a life-changing story for every adult and kid who read it. we recommend following it with the julian chapter: a wonder story. it’s a quick read and one that will challenge anyone who’s read wonder to think about the judgements we made as we read the book. a reminder that we never know anyone’s full story, that we all have our own stuff we’re dealing with.
- the one and only ivan by katherine applegate – ivan, a gorilla who is the main character, is inspired by a real, though no longer living, gorilla. while it’s a fantasy story, it feels believable. the characters are all so, so sweet, and all so different; the writing shows how we, as writers, can give voice to many different characters in our writing. this text has short chapters, which makes it an easy read aloud to move through, as you can tuck in chapters here and there across your day.
- each kindness by jacqueline woodson – one of our kids put this book on his self-portrait in books, and when we asked him why, he said it really touched him. we agree. the story is kind of heartbreaking, making us all think about the opportunities we have to show kindness, and the effects those kind acts or missed opportunities have on ourselves and the world around us.
- fox by margaret wild – a picture book that we’ve read so many times we can practically recite it. each year we read it over and over again. it has themes about friendship and betrayal and is suspenseful and surprising to kids. the language in it is beautiful, too, so you can use it as a mentor text in writing (the teaching points in it are endless) in addition to deep reading work.