Outside the Classroom

October’s Top Books on Education: See What’s Coming Out This Month!

By now, you’re back into your daily routines, you know (most of) your students, and you’re gearing up for midterms. But that doesn’t have to mean it’s too late to change things up in your classroom or school!

Do you have some English language learners in your class this year? Maybe you’d like to learn more about how you can better help them. Or you’d like to strengthen your students’ note-taking skills using a method designed by a student that went viral. Perhaps you’re looking for some more basic information about how you can make a greater impact on your students. To help you do all this and more, we selected five of October’s top books on education, all of which are full of great and useful information.

October 2019 Top Books

Dispelling Misconceptions About English Language Learners: Research-Based Ways to Improve Instruction
Barbara Gottschalk

Nearly three-quarters of public schools in the United States enroll English language learners (ELLs). That means teachers at all grade levels need to know how to help these students achieve full academic English language proficiency. In Dispelling Misconceptions About English Language Learners, Barbara Gottschalk dispels 10 common misconceptions about ELLs and gives teachers the information they need to help their ELLs succeed in the classroom.

From her perspective as a teacher of English as a second language, Gottschalk answers several key questions:

  • Just who is an English language learner?
  • Why is it important to support home language maintenance and promote family engagement?
  • What are the foundational principles for instruction that help educators teach ELLs across the content areas?
  • How can teachers recognize and incorporate the background knowledge and experiences ELLs bring to class?
  • Why is it important to maintain high standards and expectations for all students, including ELLs?
  • How can a teacher tell when an ELL needs special education versus special teaching?

By answering these questions, and more, Gottschalk gives teachers a crystal-clear understanding of how to reach ELLs at each stage of English language acquisition. Her expert guidance reinforces for teachers what they are already doing right and helps them understand what they might need to be doing differently.

October 2019 Top Books

Study with Me: Effective Bullet Journaling Techniques, Habits, and Hacks to Be Successful, Productive, and Organized
Jasmine Shao and Alyssa Jagan

Inspired by the global “study with me”/#studygram phenomenon: Study smarter, stay motivated, improve your grades—all by taking better, more effective notes!

Written by Jasmine Shao, founder of popular YouTube channel and Instagram account @studyquill, and Alyssa Jagan, founder of @craftyslimecreator and author of the DIY book Ultimate Slime, Study with Me includes everything you need to set and achieve your study goals using simple-to-master bullet journaling techniques:

  • The basics of bullet journaling, and how to adapt them to your specific studying needs and goals
  • Methods for organizing your time and scheduling
  • Ideas for page and spread layouts for specific topics and how to set them up
  • Plus: Dos and don’ts, hacks, and assorted tips for beginners

With Study with Me, you’ll learn the note-taking and organizational skills you need to achieve success!

October 2019 Top Books

This Is Balanced Literacy, Grades K–6
Nancy Akhavan, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey

Students learn to read and write best when their teachers balance literacy instruction. But how do you strike the right balance of skills and knowledge, reading and writing, small and whole group instruction, and direct and dialogic instruction, so that all students can learn to their maximum potential?

The answer lies in the intentional design of learning activities, purposeful selection of instructional materials, evidence-based teaching methods, and in strategic groupings of students based on assessment data. Together, these create the perfect balance of high impact learning experiences that engage and excite learners. In this hands-on essential guide, best-selling authors Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Nancy Akhavan help you define that balance for your students, lighting the path to implementing balanced literacy in your classroom. Their plan empowers you to integrate evidence-based approaches that include:

  • Instructional materials comprised of both informational and narrative texts.
  • The best uses of instructional delivery modes, including direct and dialogic instruction.
  • Grouping patterns that work best to accomplish learning aims for different learners at different stages.
  • Instruction in foundational skills and meaning making, including oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.
  • Technology used as a tool for increasing learning of a specific literary process.

All the tips and tools you need to realize the goal of balanced literacy learning are included, with classroom videos that show strategies in action. Tap your intuition, collaborate with your peers, and put the research-based strategies embedded in this roadmap to work in your classroom to implement or deepen a strong, successful balanced literacy program. Grow as a reading and writing teacher while leading your students to grow as readers and writers.

October 2019 Top Books

Teaching Elementary Students Real-Life Inquiry Skills
Kristy Hill

Fake news and misinformation is everywhere. Learn how to teach elementary students to locate reliable information, evaluate sources, and develop their writing skills in the classroom and in the library.

Empower students to find and evaluate information with this practical guide to supporting classroom writing and research instruction. You’ll learn ways to teach students to evaluate information for accuracy and to collect information from credible sources such as library journals. Additionally, you’ll learn how to incorporate writing into your makerspace, encourage curiosity through the inquiry process, and help students to find their voice. Along the way, you’ll discover how to support various writing genres including technical writing and the research project and how to teach prewriting for digital media such as websites, blogs, and social media.

Lesson plans, which can be adapted from year to year as a part of the classroom and library curriculum, explain how students can use databases, search engines, books, and expert testimony to gather information. Also included are student samples and hands-on activities that will get students excited about learning.


  • Provides guidelines elementary students can use to evaluate resources for accuracy and credibility
  • Explains how to teach students not only where to look for information but also how to gather and use that information
  • Offers lesson plans that build research and note-taking skills
  • Teaches inquiry as a mode of learning

October 2019 Top Books

What Works?: Research and Evidence for Successful Teaching
Lee Elliot Major and Steve Higgins

From the authors of the Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit comes What Works?, a must-read guide that summarizes the research and hard evidence of what works and what doesn’t in primary and secondary classrooms, and provides practical strategies for transforming pupils’ progress.

Lee Elliot Major and Steve Higgins look at common teaching approaches, including raising aspirations, improving behavior, outdoor learning, and parental engagement. They present the research and evidence behind each approach and provide practical steps for best practices in the classroom to boost the learning and life outcomes of all pupils. Explored in a concise, accessible manner, the research and evidence is distilled into clear, precise guidance that can be used immediately, ideal for any busy teacher.

What Works? makes it easy for all primary and secondary teachers to become research-informed practitioners in every aspect of their teaching. From debunking enduring education myths to providing practical next steps and strategies that really make a difference, this is the essential guide to evidence-based teaching and a must-have for every teacher looking to increase their impact in the classroom.

Did you miss last month’s recommendations? It’s not too late to see September’s top books on education.

About the Author


Laura Almozara

As a child, Laura spent a lot of time reading and telling stories, at one point reading a new book every day. She took that interest with her to college, where she studied English and journalism. She then started working in publishing and eventually made her way to edtech. Laura is excited to be a part of the Where Learning Clicks team, helping to provide innovative education tools to some of the people who need them most.