Sunday, August 18, 2013

Guest Post by Kate from EduKate and Inspire

Hello everyone!  My name is Kate and I blog over at EduKate and Inspire.  I was so excited when Kimberly asked me if I wanted to do a guest post for her.  This is actually my first guest post, so I am thrilled to be able to test out the waters over here!  I had the opportunity to meet Kimberly at the Michigan blogger meet up last summer and I am very grateful that she is one of my blogging friends! Just a little background info about me before I get started... I am a second grade teacher from Ohio and am entering my 7th year as a teacher!  While I blog a lot about my classroom and teaching, I also write about technology and school counseling.  I would love for you to stop by my blog and visit! :) There are SO many topics I am passionate about, but I decided to write about one of my favorite areas, which is reading!  I have been an avid reader ever since I was a child.  Even when I was young, I was drawn to non-fiction books because I loved learning about new topics.  As a teacher, I truly enjoy reading professional development books.  The right books always challenge my thinking and inspire me to be a better teacher.  Without further ado, here are some of my favorite books for teachers!
Favorite Books for Teachers
I am going to focus on 7 books... 5 books focus on practical ways of developing stronger readers and writers in your classroom, while the other 2 are humorous books that bring joy to any teacher!  Click on any of the pictures or links to be taken to Amazon where you can read more about the books and see reviews.  
The first book up is Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading.  Comprehension Connections has changed the way that I teach reading.  By focusing on comprehension skills and strategies, Tammy McGregor gives practical and hands-on ways to help students make connections to texts.  The book covers schema, inferring, questioning, determining importance, visualizing, and synthesizing.  Each chapter discusses how to make the comprehension skill meaningful to students not only through reading, but also through music, art, and sensory experiences.  I highly recommend this book!!!
Comprehension Connections Review
Another one of my favorite books for teaching reading is The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child.  The Book Whisperer is a favorite not only because it gives practical ways to inspire a love of reading in your students, but also because the book in itself is inspiring to teachers.  I reread this book every summer because it gives me a fresh perspective about why I do what I do.  And it reminds me of when I first became a reader.  Each time I reread The Book Whisperer, I discover a new way to help my students fall in love with books.
The Book Whisperer Review
Next up is another reading book!  By now, I am sure nearly all of you have heard of The Daily 5 by "the sisters."  The sisters also wrote The CAFE Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction.  While the Daily 5 focuses mostly on setting up a structure for reading, the CAFE Book focuses more on reading strategies and goal setting.  CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary.  Each main topic includes numerous strategies to introduce in a whole class group.  As strategies are introduced, they are placed up on the CAFE wall.  Students set goals and work on strategies independently and during guided reading.  I love using CAFE strategies and goal setting because it gives students ownership of the skills they are working on.  The sisters even developed an online "pensieve" for teachers to use to keep track of students' CAFE goals and progress.
The Cafe Book Review
Ok, time for a new topic... writing!!  I will confess that writing is the area where I need the most work as a teacher!  It never fails that one student will be completely done, while another student has not even written his or her name on the paper.  Enter... No More "I'm Done!": Fostering Independent Writers in the Primary Grades.  No More "I'm Done!" has rocked the world of writing workshop for me.  Jennifer Jacobson offers so many practical ways to help students develop of a love of writing.  The book is organized into mini-lessons that can be introduced to the whole class.  This book is a must-have for primary classroom teachers!
The next book came as a surprise to me, as it was actually one of my textbooks during my undergrad.  I had to buy the book for my phonics class... typically, I sell back all of my books, but I am so glad I kept this one and rediscovered it years later!  After being fed up with teaching a traditional spelling curriculum where students memorize {and later forget} their words every week, I knew I needed to find a way to differentiate spelling and make it more meaningful to students.  Enter Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction (5th Edition).  Words Their Way is a developmental word study and phonics program.  With this program, I assess my students' spelling three times a year and place them into spelling groups that focus on word patterns.  I piloted the program in my classroom last year and noticed not only a huge difference in spelling, but also extra benefits in reading, phonics, and vocabulary.  The Words Their Way book focuses on the research behind the developmental spelling groups and assessment.  If you decide to implement the program, you will also need the word sort books.  For my second grade classroom, I used three word sort books--Letter Name - Alphabetic SpellersWithin Word Pattern Spellers, and Syllables and Affixes Spellers.  If you are looking to change up your spelling program, you should consider checking out Words Their Way!  I will be writing more about it on my blog soon... stop by and follow me so you can check out the post!
The last two books are just for fun!  I adore these books.  You will love the funny anecdotes in them... the authors are spot on with what truly happens in the classroom!  If you are looking for a great gift for a teacher friend, you should check out these books!
First up is 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching.  Philip Done is absolutely hilarious.  You will laugh out loud while you read this book!  If you are having a crummy day {or school year}, this will cheer you up!
Next up is It's Not All Flowers and Sausages: My Adventures in Second Grade.  You will love Mrs. Mimi's witty humor about copy machine limits and ridiculous professional development.  The title of the first chapter says it all-- "Holy Crap, It's August!"  :)
Ok, there you have it!  I have so many favorite teaching books, I could keep writing for 17 more hours... but I better stop now!  Do you have a favorite professional book that I didn't mention?  I would love to hear about it in the comments! I love to connect with my readers.  Please stop by my blog to connect with me by clicking on my blog button below.  You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TPT.
Enjoy your last few days of summer!  Thanks for reading and thanks again to Kimberly for letting me stop by!

Thank you, Kate!  Now, I'm going to have to refill my Amazon cart too. Ha! 
I'm for sure going to add the comprehension and the writing book to my cart right away.

Don't forget... Today is the first day of the back to school sale at Tpt! 
Visit me, visit Kate, happy shopping!



  1. Thanks again for letting me post, Kimberly! I am off to drop some money at the TPT sale! :) Enjoy your vacation!!!

    EduKate and Inspire

  2. Thanks Kate! Your passion for reading and teaching really comes through! I hope you have a great year!

  3. You could be qualified to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.