My Just Right Texts

Here is a list of my FAVORITE professional texts (so far) and why. –UPDATED Summer 2016!

1. Minds Made for Stories by Thomas Newkirk

  • Fascinating look at how we make sense of our reading–nearly all reading–through stories. Writers can also gain some excellent tips about how to maintain a reader’s interest if they are willing to infer as they read.

2. Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment by Maja Wilson

  • Because as a classroom teacher, I often felt bored and uninspired by the papers my students wrote that, according to the rubrics I wrote, were models of exemplary writing. Maja helped me realize why.

3. Misreading Masculinity: Boys, Literacy, and Popular Culture by Thomas Newkirk

  • Because it has pushed my thinking by helping me understand why boys often abandon the pursuit of lifelong literacy in favor of other, more engaging pursuits.

4. The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown

  • Not an “educational” book, per say–you’ll find this in the Business Management section of the book store (eek!)–but so. Important. If you are interested in visual literacy, this is a must-read.

5. Choice Words by Peter Johnston

  • Because no other book has pushed me to think as deeply about how much of an impact our language–as educators, as parents, as humans–has on others.

6. Curriculum Integration: Twenty Questions–with Answers by John Lounsbury & Gert Nesin

  • Because I have never experienced any other framework for teaching that helps students achieve more success in their learning as this one.

7. Any book by Alfie Kohn.

  • If you don’t know him, you must acquaint yourself with him immediately.

8. Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray

  • Changed how I look at the teaching of writing and made me a lifelong fan of Katie’s. Paradigm-shifting.

9. Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum: How Ideology Trumped Evidence by Richard Allington

  • Because every literacy educator should know how distorted the findings of the National Reading Panel really are. Although its findings were published over two dozen years ago, we are still feeling its ramifications.


  • Chances are, if you found this blog, you’re on Twitter. If you’re not, rectify this immediately and start following these people: Donalyn Miller, Kristine Mraz, Tracy Johnston Zager, Peter Greene…heck, just look at who I’m following and build your list from there.

 What are your favorite professional texts??

4 thoughts on “My Just Right Texts”

  1. Have you read anything by Penny Kittle? Or Schooler?
    Both great reads that are very applicable into the secondary classrooms.


  2. ‘What Readers Do’ by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton. This book transformed by perception of my students’ thinking while reading.
    Thanks for the concept of this post. I think I will start compiling my own list of Just Right books for me.


  3. Great list!
    I’m reading Parker Palmer’s Healing the Heart of Democracy right now and I think it’s wonderful: seems like something you’d enjoy


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