PROFESSIONAL READING: Some recent titles

The eleven titles listed here are professional titles that I’ve recently acquired that provided insights into effective literacy practice as well as social justice diversity and equity teaching. NOTE: The descriptions accompanying each title are mostly drawn from the blurbs on the back covers of the books. 



Medicine Wheel Education, 2021

This is a collection of stories from family and friends of Phyllis Webstad before, during and after their Residential School experiences. Survivors and Intergenerational Survivors share their stories authentically in their own words. 

#BLACKINSCHOOL by Habiba Cooper Diallo

University of Regina Press, 2021

This book is Habiba Cooper Diallo’s high school journal, in which she documents, processes and resists the systemic racism, microagrressions, stereotypes and outright racism she experienced as a Black girl attending high school in Canada.  Her words will resonate with some but should shock, appall, and animate a great many more into action towards a society that is truly equitable for all. 

CLASSROOM TEACHING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Directions, Principles and Strategies by Clive Beck and Clare Kosnik, Open University Press, 2022

As technology becomes more widespread and the world continues to change in many other ways, teachers have adapted to allow education to evolve with the 21st Century.  This book provides theoretical foundations and highly practical strategies drawing on the ideas and experiences of practicing teachers. Beck and Kosnik highlight how crucial education is for equipping future generations with the skills for individual, societal and planetary wellbeing, while still considering the pressures of ‘teaching to the test’. 

HOW MUCH DOES A SCHOOL COST?: School Economies and school values  by Barbara J. Smith

Rowman & Littlefield, 2021

I can’t imagine any school leader/ administrator or those aspiring to step into administrator’s role, not reading, learning or growing from this book. Master educator, Barbara J. Smith provides readers with bold ideas for imagining and teaching with a forward-thinking light. Concrete examples, research citations, speculations, stories guide educators to 1. Define greatness 2. Clarify parameters and conditions for best practices 3. Examine the nature of school budgets 4. Dream of a new ideal school 5. Contrasting ideal with traditional schools. This book is an invitation – and a challenge – to educators to reflect, prioritize, negotiate and put their cards on the table to create programming, staffing, professional development – and budgeting that works towards an innovative, GREATER education for schools, today and tomorrow. The book is divided into 20 short chapters, each ending with a component the component “Grappling with iIdeas” where Smith poses questions of concern that demand attention. It’s time to get into groups and discuss!!!

#I WISH MY TEACHER KNEW: How one question can change everything for our kids by Kyle Schwartz

Hatchett Books, 2016

One day, third grade teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to fill in the blank in this sentence: “I WISH MY TEACHER KNEW_____”. Some of the results were humorous, some heartbreaking. Many answers were moving, all were enlightening. The student answers opened Schwart’z eyes to the need for educators to understand the unique realities their students face in order to create an open, safe, and supporting classroom environment. When the author shared her experiences online, teachers around the glob began sharing their own contributions to #IWishMyTeacherKnew. The book provides a look at systemic problems that affect students nationwide (e.g., poverty, mobility, trauma, relationships). Reading the stories and strategies can help educators, family members and students consider how we can help students to tackle challenges and grow as individuals. 

TEACHERS THESE DAYS: Stories and Strategies for Reconnection by Jody Carrington and Laure Mcintosh

IMPress, 2021

Teaching is literacy and numeracy but most importantly, it’s showing up with your whole heart. As we work to piece together our education system in the fallout of the global pandemic, the focus must be on the teachers. If the people in charge – th0se teachers n- aren’t OK, the students don’t stand a chance. The authors weave the science of human development with real-life stories and tangible strategies told by teachers. 


Portage & Main Press, 2018

This book offers valuable practical suggestions, useful background information, and a way forward for addressing the topics of Indigenous cultures, residential schools, and reconciliation in the K-12 classroom. Dr. Toulouse provides accessible information and ready-to-use lesson  and how-to suggestions to incorporate Indigenous teachings in science, social studies, health, physical education and the arts. 

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus

Candlewick Press, 2021

Writers for young people talk about censorship, free expression, and the stories they have to tell (voices include David Levithan, Katherine Paterson, Dav Pilkey, R.L. Stine, Angie Thomas



DEEPENING IN-CLASS AND ONLINE LEARNING: 60 step-by-step strategies to encourage interaction, foster inclusion and spark imagination by Larry Swartz, Debbie Nyman and Magdalin Livingston, 2021

This resource shows teachers how to make learning joyful as they translate successful calssroom strategies to virtual learning and back again as the need arises. Each of the 60 step-by-step activities is ready-to-use in-class and/or for distance learning.  The book offers ways for students to play, communicate, collaborate , create and present. 

POWERFUL POETRY: Read, Write, Rejoice, Recite Poetry All Year Long by Adrienne Gear, 2021

In this book, the author explains how the ‘experience’ of a poem is both visual and auditory; emotional and cognitive. Gear provides a comprehensive approach to reading and writing poetry offering the background and activities teachers may need to bring poetry to life for their students.  The resource is organized around discovery, experiencing, learning, and creating poetry through practical lessons. 

SOMETIMES READING IS HARD: Using decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies to inspire fluent, passionate, lifelong readers by Robin Bright, 2021

This book explores he science of reading and shows teachers how to balance decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency skills with a love of reading. A wide range of ready to use instructional strategies demonstrate fresh ways to build student confidence, curiosity, and empathy.