5 Of My Favorite Books About Literacy Instruction


Looking for a good literacy-related professional development book? I’m sharing five of my favorites in today’s post!

Love these books for teaching reading and writing in K-2!

Note: This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

Okay. So honestly, it was hard to pick just five. I could easily have pulled another five (or ten!) off my shelf. But here are some of my favorites!

#1: When Readers Struggle: K-3 (Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas)

This is a long one, so you may want to read just bits and pieces. But oh my GOSH is it good!

My favorite thing about this book is that there are LOTS of concrete examples of teacher talk. If you’ve ever stumbled over your words trying to explain something, introduce a text, or support a reader in a place of difficulty, this book will literally give you ideas about what to say!

Read this book if you are a classroom teacher, interventionist, or specialist – there’s so much good stuff in here. I believe there is a version for the upper grades, too. Check out the primary version HERE.

#2: Strategies That Work (Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis)

I got this one a while back, but it’s a classic. It includes comprehension lessons that are organized by strategy. There are lots of real photos and examples of anchor charts, sticky notes, etc. The authors promote a very active approach to comprehension. The lessons are geared mostly toward first grade and up, but I didn’t find it hard to apply the concepts to Kindergarten.

This is a book you’ll come back to again and again! Get it HERE.

#3: Reading With Meaning (Debbie Miller)

This book totally changed how I thought about teaching reading comprehension! I read it 6 or 7 years ago, and the concepts have really stuck with me.

The book gives you a peek into Debbie Miller’s first grade classroom, where young students (many of whom can’t read traditionally) are engaging in truly deep comprehension. There’s also a whole lotta metacognition going on – kids are able to talk about what strategies they’re applying, and why.

If you want to give your readalouds and comprehension lessons a real boost, check out the text HERE (I actually read the first edition, but I assume it’s largely the same).

#4: Conferring With Readers (Jennifer Serravallo and Gravity Goldberg)

If you’re not sure if you a) have time for individual reading conferences or b) want to implement individual reading conferences, this book will SO motivate you to make time for them! Jennifer and Gravity walk you through the steps of conducting a reading conference, figuring out what to teach, quickly gathering information during a reading conference, and the list goes on.

There are lots of concrete examples of teacher talk, as well as for strategies to teach. It’s a relatively quick read, too. You can find it HERE.

#5: Who’s Doing The Work? How To Say Less So Readers Can Do More (Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris)

This is a book I read recently and just loved. I am not a super talkative person overall, but I sometimes do way too much talking when I’m working with students!

This book challenged my thinking and gave me some new ideas for helping students take more responsibility and ownership in their literacy learning. I also like how it’s organized – the authors go through different balanced literacy routines (i.e. guided reading) and describe steps we can take to let our readers do more of the work. You can find the book HERE.

Let me know what you think!

I hope you found something new to read in this post! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts – and additions to this list! Happy teaching. 🙂


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7 years ago

Ian currently teaching a reading intervention program to fourth graders who are having the hardest time with comprehension. Which of the above mentioned books would you recommend. Or is there another book you would recommend?


I’m Alison, a literacy specialist. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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