Teachers, like students, should be actively learning at all times. One of my favorite ways to learn is through quality books written for teachers. You may be like me and have a wishlist a mile long on Amazon! 😉 I’ve looked through hundreds of titles and narrowed down 12 books every pre-k and kindergarten teacher should read. While some of these book titles specify Pre-K or Kindergarten, they’re all useful reads for teachers of 4 to 6 year olds. I’ve also included a book that’s geared for parents, but I think it would make a great read for teachers of little learners as well!
After I narrowed down my list to 12 books every pre-k or kindergarten teacher should read, I decided to focus on reading one of these books each of the next 12 months. For less than the cost of one teaching conference, I can learn from some of the world’s top experts in child development, literacy, pre-kindergarten, play based learning, STEM, and more. And if I order one book each month using my Amazon Prime shipping, my budget won’t be crunched at all! Allow me to introduce you to the books I’ll be reading. I hope you’ll join me on this journey to being a better Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher! (For your convenience, I have added links to each book. These are affiliate links and I will earn a *small* commission if you order a book using the link provided.)
The 12 Books Every Pre-K or Kindergarten Teacher Should Read
At the heart of this groundbreaking book by Suzanne Bouffard are two urgent questions: What do our young children need in the earliest years of school, and how do we ensure that they all get it? Cutting-edge research has proven that early childhood education is crucial for all children to gain the academic and emotional skills they need to succeed later in life.With engrossing storytelling, journalist Suzanne Bouffard takes us inside some of the country’s best pre-K classrooms to reveal the sometimes surprising ingredients that make them work—and to understand why some programs are doing the opposite of what is best for children. I am reading this book first, because it will set the stage for everything else I read.
2. No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
Highlighting the fascinating link between a child’s neurological development and the way a parent reacts to misbehavior, No-Drama Discipline provides an effective, compassionate road map for dealing with tantrums, tensions, and tears—without causing a scene.
Defining the true meaning of the “d” word (to instruct, not to shout or reprimand), the authors explain how to reach your child, redirect emotions, and turn a meltdown into an opportunity for growth. By doing so, the cycle of negative behavior (and punishment) is essentially brought to a halt, as problem solving becomes a win/win situation.
This no-nonsense, jargon-free guide by Fran Simon will help you evaluate the tools and opportunities technology has to offer and integrate them into your early childhood classroom so you can offer real-life, hands-on, interactive activities to children. A reference every childhood program will want to have, Digital Decisions is brimming with charts, resources, and an array of activities that maximize technology as an interactive learning tool.
Learning can happen during every minute of a child’s day when you plan and teach with intention. This how-to resource by Gaye Gronlund provides four planning and reflecting frameworks to help you bring engaging experiences into your classroom. It describes a methodical cycle that encompasses the many elements of a successful classroom—a process of planning, implementing, observing, reflecting, and individualizing curriculum—that helps build children’s academic and social skills.
Instead of teaching math to preschoolers, you can be their guide as they experiment, think about problems, try solutions, gain understanding, and discuss their findings. Creative Investigations in Early Math gives teachers practical ideas for intentionally fostering young children’s hands-on explorations in the following areas: number and number sense, computation, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, data collection and statistics, patterns and relationships. With your guidance and this resource by Angela Eckhoff, preschoolers can figure out how the world of mathematics works and how math works in their world.
Play, academics, and standards can work together with the right strategies and support from educators. Take an active role in child-directed play to guide learning. Become a strong advocate for saving play in early childhood education by empowering teachers to join play and standards, and learn how child-led, open-ended play addresses the seven domains and Common Core Standards. This book by Gaye Gronlund and Thomas Rendon is full of research and resources that link academic learning and play experiences.
In their latest professional book, Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas show you how to tap into young children’s excitement to introduce them to the world of literacy in joyful, engaging ways. As with their Continuum of Literacy Learning for grades K-8, they provide detailed descriptions of language and literacy behaviors and understandings for teachers to notice, teach, and support, while offering practical strategies for the prekindergarten classroom.
Young children arrive at school with unrestrained curiosity and wonder about the world. A fact-based, hands-on activity approach to teaching science, however, is not enough to help them deepen their scientific thinking or discoveries. In Starting with Science: Strategies for Introducing Young Children to Inquiry, Marcia Talhelm Edson explores the big ideas surrounding inquiry-based science; she helps teachers thoughtfully plan for and implement a conceptual approach to teaching and learning science so students can engage in observation, questioning, predictions, collaboration, data collection, and a deeper understanding of topics important to their lives.
This book describes effective, engaging ways to build young children’s print concepts and alphabetic knowledge, which are crucial for both reading and writing development. Presenting shared reading, shared writing, and targeted instructional activities, each chapter features helpful classroom vignettes, a section debunking myths about preschool literacy, and Ideas for Discussion, Reflection, and Action. Strategies are provided for creating print-rich classroom and home environments and differentiating instruction for diverse students, including English language learners. The book also discusses how to assess preschoolers’ reading and writing progress. Reproducible checklists and parent handouts can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2″ x 11″ size.
Before children are readers and writers, they are speakers and listeners. This book provides creative, hands-on strategies for developing preschoolers’ speaking, listening, and oral comprehension skills, within a literacy-rich classroom environment. Each chapter features helpful classroom vignettes; a section called Preschool in Practice, with step-by-step lesson ideas; and Ideas for Discussion, Reflection, and Action. The book addresses the needs of English language learners and describes ways to support students’ literacy development at home. The final chapter pulls it all together through a portrait of an exemplary day of preschool teaching and learning. Reproducible forms and checklists can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2″ x 11″ size.
Responding to current debates on the place of play in schools, the authors have extensively revised their groundbreaking book. They explain how and why play is a critical part of children’s development, as well as the central role adults have to promote it. This classic textbook and popular practitioner resource offers systematic descriptions and analyses of the different roles a teacher adopts to support play, including those of stage manager, mediator, player, scribe, assessor, communicator, and planner. This new edition has been expanded to include significant developments in the broadening landscape of early learning and care, such as assessment, diversity and culture, intentional teaching, inquiry, and the construction of knowledge.
Grounded in best practices and current research, this hands-on resource connects the dots that link brain activity, motor and sensory development, movement, and early learning. The expert authors unveil the Kinetic Scale: a visual map of the active learning needs of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and primary graders that fits each child’s individual timetable. Teachers, parents, and caregivers will find a wealth of information, actionable tips, and games they can use to support children’s healthy development–all presented in a lively, full-color format with demonstrative diagrams and photos. A final section offers easy-to-implement activities geared to the Kinetic Scale.
What books do YOU think are MUST READS for Pre-K or Kindergarten teachers?
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