Top 10 Books Every Literacy Leader MUST Have!

In this post, I will be providing a list of 10 literacy resources and books that I have either used, read about or been suggested to read as I pursue my graduate literacy licensure!

Some of these resources I have used myself while others I have just recently stumbled upon while researching for more resources. Some of these texts are hands on for teachers working with students in reading and others are more directed for HOW to be a successful and productive leader in any given school. I used a combination of both because you cannot be a coach without having both the content AND the interpersonal relationship skills along with it in being a leader.

1. Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction by Jim Knight 


This book is written by Jim Knight and involves professional development strategies that “facilitates change, improves instruction, and transforms school culture”. This book provides assistance and encouragement for coaches to implement school improvement programs. Jim Knight is an experienced trainer and researcher and gives us the “nuts and bolts” of instructional coaching. He also and gives us the essential skills that instructional coaches need (ex: getting teachers on board, model lessons, and engaging in reflective conversations, etc.)

2. Fountas and Pinnell BAS Kits


This assessment is a HUGE new hit at my current building. We are required to assess our students before we send them to the next grade level. This keeps a cohesive and consistent track of student’s reading growth and success. The BAS kit is used “to determine student’s independent and instructional reading levels, teachers are able to observe student reading behaviors one-on-one, engage in comprehension conversations that go beyond retelling, and make informed decisions that connect assessment to instruction”. This assessment allows the teacher to not only find the level that a student is reading at, but also diagnose the deeper meaning of why they are at their level and what strategies they need individualized instruction on.

3.The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo


This book is a great for any classroom teacher that pairs with a variety of curriculums and assessments.  This book focuses on a variety of reading strategies that can used in any grade level along with teaching strategies for whole group and small groups.

4. The Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo


Similar to the book listed above, this book is also great for any classroom teacher that pairs with a wide variety of curriculums and assessments.  This book focuses on multiple writing strategies from mini lessons and workshop style to independent practice.

5. Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction by Jim Knight


This book, written by Jim Knight, is an addition to his first book to improve instruction in a school setting. He expands on the process for becoming an impact school through targeted, consistent professional learning that is done with teachers, not to teachers.

6. Differentiated Coaching: A Framework for Helping Teachers Change by Jane A. G. Kise


This book is basically a coaching model based on teachers’ learning styles and learning how how those teaching styles can impact, positively or negatively, student success. This book was written in order to help teachers understand how their strengths and beliefs may “lock them into practices that can limit student success”.

7. Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for Principals and Coaches by Diane Sweeney


This text is all about school-based coaching that can be designed to directly impact student learning. This main focus of this book is shifting the focus from “fixing” teachers to collaborating with them. The text also explains how to design instruction that targets achievement and provides specific practices for leading a student-centered coaching effort.

8 The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson


This book helps teachers meet the diverse reading needs of students and also gives some structure and a variety of tools for a successful guided reading group. Richardson has identified the essential components of an effective guided reading lesson: targeted assessments, data analysis that pinpoints specific strategies students need, and the use of guided writing to support the reading process.

9. The Guided Reading Teacher’s Companion by Jan Richardson


This flip-chart guide allows teachers to find prompts, discussion starters, and teaching points to use with students to process more effectively, think more deeply, and express their ideas more thoughtfully. It is a user friendly book to use conveniently while working with small groups. Teachers can use these tools as starting points for in-depth inquiry based on specific reading behaviors you’re noticing.

10. Never Underestimate Your Teachers: Instructional Leadership for Excellence in Every Classroom by Robyn R. Jackson


In this book Jackson presents a new model for understanding teaching as a combination of skill and will and explains the best ways to support individual teachers’ ongoing professional development. The book teachers coaches and leaders how to learn how to meet teachers where they are and help every one of them develop the mind-set and habits of master teachers. The book provides real-life examples, practical tools, and strategies for managing time and energy demands.


2 thoughts on “Top 10 Books Every Literacy Leader MUST Have!

  1. What a great list. I would love to read the last one! I’ve started looking for some leadership/coaching books to read. This one looks like it would fit what I’m looking for perfectly. Thanks!


  2. Thanks for sharing-your list is great! I have been looking through the Reading Strategies book but since I am subbing now I have not used it in class: have you used it or the writing strategies ideas with your students?

    Liked by 1 person

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