We admit it: Sometimes professional reading leaves us yawning and wondering when the author last stepped foot in a classroom. But other times, one powerful sentence can completely change the way we think about our classrooms. Here are some quotes about teaching from recent professional books that made us stop, reflect, and think in new ways.

1. On the pleasures of guided reading.

“It makes me smile to see children lean over a table, dig into a book, solve problems, and construct meaning. Why? Because these precious children are experiencing a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. They know they are becoming better readers, and they are excited about it.”

—Jan Richardson, The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading: An Access-Decide-Guide Framework for Supporting Every Reader

2. On finding one’s self.

“When readers are lost in a book, they stand a good chance of finding themselves.”

—Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst, Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters

3. On your motto as a writing teacher.

“‘Teach the writer, not the writing,’ is a motto worth its weight in gold.”

—Alan Sitomer, Mastering Short-Response Writing: Claim It! Cite It! Cement It!

4. On knowing our kids.

“Effective teaching of reading begins not with the right method, system, strategy, or program, but with...what teachers know of books, reading, and the kids.”

—Nancie Atwell & Anne Atwell Merkel, The Reading Zone, Second Edition: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers

5. On the power of mentor texts.

“I have learned to trust in the power of wonderful mentor texts—nonfiction books, magazine articles, and student pieces—to provide exposure to literary language, form, and craft.”

—Linda Hoyt, Conventions and Craft: A Full Year of Literature-Based Micro-Workshops to Build Essential Understandings for Grammar, Sentence Structure & Word Study

6. On connecting with families.

“Connecting families to the learning that takes place in the classroom is an important condition of building partnership. Parents <em>want</em> to understand what it is their child will be learning in the coming year and will look to you to share information and advice on how to partner to ensure their child’s success.”

—Karen Mapp, Ilene Carver, and Jessica Lander, Powerful Partnerships: A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging Families for Student Success

7. On reading as a superpower.

“Let us teach every child how to use reading as a superpower to elevate her mind, spirit, and overall sense of well-being. Through the gift of reading, we give this child the chance to be in the world—a world that she makes her own, where she never feels alone, 365 days a year.”

—Pam Allyn & Ernest Morrell, Every Child a Super Reader: 7 Strengths to Open a World of Possible

8. On allowing more student choice.

“If we want to develop engaged and competent readers, might we not benefit from understanding the nature of reading pleasure, particularly in relation to the books that students love, but that we, as adults and teachers, might disapprove of?”

—Jeffrey D. Wilhelm and Michael W. Smith, Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want—and Why We Should Let Them

9. On the difference between reading and writing.

“To write is to become familiar with your light and darkness and everything in between. It becomes the gray matter of your existence. Reading puts you in contact with others. Writing puts you in contact with yourself.”

—Alfred W. Tatum, Fearless Voices: Engaging a New Generation of African American Adolescent Male Writers

10. On problem solving.

“All children are hard-wired to be problem solvers. They long to understand, are often troubled by issues in their communities, and are driven to be a part of the solution.”

—Nell K. Duke, Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text Through Project-Based Instruction

11. On making time for wonder.

“I hear the demands to raise scores in our schools. I see the impact of the pressure to get more done in less time to meet standards. And I wonder what we lose when we let go of those small moments when we kneel down next to a child and look at the world from their level. Where is the fascination with a ladybug strolling across a leaf or an inchworm arcing and stretching its way up a stem? Where are those moments when a child giggles with excitement at the flutter of wings and the sudden flight of a bird? Will we lose the intense natural interest children bring to the worlds of their imagination?”

Lester L. Laminack, The Ultimate Read-Aloud Resource


12. On the danger of too much phonics.

“In the past few years, with the influx of so many commercial reading programs requiring hours upon hours of phonics instruction in the early grades, our students are often missing out on rich literacy experiences such as the interactive read-aloud, book discussions, and wide independent reading that veteran reading teachers know should be the core of the reading program in elementary schools.”

—Sharon Zinke, Rime Magic: Phonics-Powered Prevention and Intervention for All Students