I think we all have our favorite parenting-related books and we like them for different reasons. We may like a book because it has a similar philosophy as our own. We may like a book because it is practical and action-oriented. Or, we may like a book because it simply provides food for thought. No matter our reasons, we all have favorites and I definitely have mine. The books that follow all made a difference in my life as a parent and/or as a teacher. I thought I would share my list with you and hopefully you will share some of yours!
Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14 by Chip Wood
I think this is the best resource out there for helping both teachers and parents understand the development of children. Why do I say this? I say this because it is very readable, well-organized, research and experienced based and full of a great deal of important information about children. The book is comprised of 2 parts- “Developmental Issues Affecting All Children” (ie mixed-age groupings, retention, racial and cultural considerations) and what the author calls “Major Developmental Considerations.” The later part of the book is broken down by age and within each age you’ll find a narrative description, growth patterns, classroom implications and appropriate curriculum.
For more information about Yardsticks and about Chip Wood, see Yardsticks4-14.com
Anyone who has ever read any of Mem Fox’s children’s books (Koala Lou, Possum Magic, Hattie and the Fox etc) knows what an incredibly talented storyteller she is, but what many people don’t know is that she was an educator as well. Mem spent 24 years as an Associate Professor of Education and received countless awards and honors for her work with literacy. In her book, Reading Magic, Fox discusses the “three secrets” of reading and offers guidance on choosing good books. In the newest publication, she has included information on boy readers and phonics as well as a list of “Twenty Books That Children Love.” For more about Mem Fox, use the links below:
- Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever (book review) from About.com
- Mem Fox’s Website
The Minds of Boys: Saving our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens
As a mom of two boys this is a MUST READ. Written by Michael Gurian (and Kathy Stevens) the founder of the Gurian Institute whose purpose is ”helping boys and girls reach their full potential by providing professional development that increases student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and parent involvement.” He has written over 20 books a number of which are written about the differences between boys and girls and some that deal specifically with issues facing boys in today’s society. In, The Minds of Boys, Guiran and Stevens discuss what they term “the boy crisis” and offers both parents and teachers a great deal of reserach-based information about how best to educate and influence boys so they are successful in school and in life. I have learned so much about the minds of boys while reading this book and have found myself referring back to it again and again.
For more information about Michael Gurian, the Gurian Institute or The Minds of Boys, try these links:
I read this book soon after I found out I was pregnant with my second child. This book is simple and to the point. It’s central and most important message? Avoid comparisons between siblings. The book walks you through countless scenarios and teaches you how to help your children learn a new set of responses for dealing with their siblings.
For some more information about Siblings without Rivalry see these links:
If you are looking for a series of books that grow with you as your child grows, try this series by Louise Bates Ames and Frances L. Ilg. These books have been around for a long time, but have been updated over the years and really are child development classics.
- Your One-Year-Old: Fun Loving, Fussy 12 to 24 Month Old
- Your Two-Year-Old: Terrible or Tender
- Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy
- Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful
- Your Five-Year-Old: Sunny and Serene
- Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant
- Your Seven-Year-Old: Life in a Minor Key
- Series continues through age fourteen
Other Books that Made a Difference:
- The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One- to-Four-Year Old by Harvey Karp MD
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth MD
- 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan PhD
- Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years Old by Jim Fay
What books have made a difference to you as a parent and/or a teacher?
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