Top Teaching > Angela Bunyi > Win My Professional Books for Free Holiday Extravaganza!

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Win My Professional Books for Free Holiday Extravaganza!

IMG_2101[1] I am a fan of giveaway contests, but I always wonder why my name is NEVER pulled out of that hat. It made me think about the great feeling of winning something, however small it may be, and how I have the opportunity to give someone else that feeling through Top Teaching. This has resulted in my "Win some of Angela's professional books for free holiday extravaganza!" The concept is simple. I have books. I will send them to you for free. You simply contribute a good book suggestion in exchange. Read on for some professional book recommendations and a list of books that are being offered to you for free! 

Photo: Some of the titles I am offering to readers for free.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things . . .


I'd like to start with a list of books that impacted me greatly as an educator. Many of my copies of these books are signed by the authors, so I will not be offering these today. However, if you are looking for some books that will make a difference in your thinking and in your level of motivation, read on.

Free books are listed at the bottom of the post with some disclaimers and regulations.

Mem Fox

FoxUntil recently, it was a ritual for me to read this book before school started up each year. The first time I read it, I found myself wanting to say, "That's right, Mem!" over and over again. With a subtitle that includes "Passionate Opinions on Teaching" — written by someone who knows what they are talking about — how could I have anything but pure love for this book? This has to be one of my all-time favorite reads. It is gleaming with quotable sayings as well. 


Tanny McGregor

Mcgregor I remember stumbling onto this book online. I was struggling with how to make reading comprehension strategies more tangible and concrete in the classroom. I first found Tanny's reading comprehension songs and bookmarks and did a search to see if she had published any books. She had, and Comprehension Connections was a great find. It's practical, easy to read, and has many lesson ideas. There are plenty of photos that will support you in launching your own lessons in the classroom, and I even took the extra step of creating a tangible comprehension strategy board based on her book.  

Katie Wood Ray

RayI have always had a special place in my heart for Katie Wood Ray. When I was first introduced to the workshop model, my teacher referenced her the most. When I was able to meet Katie Wood Ray in person, I was completely sold. What I loved most about her was her suggestion to simply study real pieces of writing. In Study Driven, you can find the confidence to launch your own writing unit focused on studying craft. It's not the easiest book to read, but my copy is highlighted from front to back, and the newspaper clippings she studies as a model have been used time and time again in our classroom. 

Rafe Esquith

EsquithRafe Esquith made it onto Oprah for a reason. If you think you put in a lot of school hours, you will change your perspective after reading Esquith's process for making a difference in East L.A. His premise is simple and stands today: There are no shortcuts. That really goes for every teacher (and student) out there. When you imagine that another teacher has it all together, you have to remember that a) they have spent many, many hours to create that appearance and b) our job is never complete. To do well in this profession, we have to accept that there are no shortcuts. Teaching using a cruise control setting will never work. 

Sharon Taberski

Taberski This author seems to be overlooked. I don't see Taberski's book on many lists for balanced literacy, but I think this book includes one of the most thorough plans for launching, setting up, and maintaining a literacy-rich classroom. I really like Taberski's practical plans and no-frills approach to writing. This book really gave me a sense of what she was doing in the classroom day after day. Sadly, she has since retired. 

Richard Allington

AllingtonMaybe it's because Richard Allington teaches at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but I literally love every book he has written. He is a bit radical and outspoken in person, but I think it's healthy to have a little bit of Allington in your system in this profession. Too often we have to stop and defend what we do in the classroom. Allington can be your fire, if you let him. One of my favorite things about Allington is that he uses peer-reviewed, federally recognized research to make his point. My copy is littered with notes, post-it notes, highlighters, and even a spilled drink or two. It's been loved.

Alfie Kohn

KohnAnother radical book, but also a huge eye-opener for me. Forever more I will think twice about extrinsic rewards and children. This is not the easiest book to read, but I can assure you that there is life beyond incentive plans, bribes, and trinkets. 

Elaine Garan

GaranIf I had to say what professional book would be considered by Cliff Notes, this would be it. From spelling to basals, Garan carefully helps you support what we do in the classroom. Each section begins with a possible question you may receive from a parent. For example, "Why don't you use . . . ?" or "We did that when I was growing up . . . " I have used elements in the book in parent newsletters. It includes several key research findings and helpful lists as well.

Ralph Fletcher

FletcherThis $6.99 book changed the way I looked at Writer's Notebooks. It is one of the reasons I push for students to carefully select and purchase their own Writer's Notebook each year. Each chapter is written so that you can read it in a few minutes and/or you can read it to your class. A great read-aloud for you and your students at the beginning of the year, it helps me remember what writing is REALLY about.

Lester Laminack

Laminack I am a huge Lester Laminack fan. I saw him when he was an SDE presenter and immediately cancelled all of my other sessions to spend the day with him. I gobbled up every word he had to say. After that, I saw him at three other conferences and attended any session I could with him. I have selected this book in particular because it includes a CD that demonstrates how Laminack might teach a lesson on certain elements of writing. 


Let the Bunyi-Book-Giving-Fest Begin!

It's time to spread the cheer and give someone else the opportunity to read some great books. The giveaway works as follows:

~ Read my post.

~ Think about a book that has strongly impacted you in the classroom.

~ In the comments section, share that book title and why it's a great read.

~ Tell me how great I am. Just kidding.

~ Include a book off the list below and leave a contact email.

~ In one week I will raffle off any titles that have been requested by more than one person. The winner will receive that book for free, possible highlighter marks and all. I'll contact you via email for an address. 

Ten Titles Up for Grabs:

Rafe Esquith — Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire and There Are No Shortcuts

Kathy Collins — Growing Readers (signed) 

Katie Wood Ray — About the Authors

Debbie Miller — Reading with Meaning

Ralph Fletcher — Boy Writers and Poetry Matters

Harvey Daniels and Steven Zemelman — Subjects Matter: Every Teacher's Guide to Content-Area Reading

Ellin Oliver Keene — Mosaic of Thought

Janet Angelillo — Grammar Study

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics — Cartoon Corner (asked about in my last post)


Happy holidays to you and your family!










  • #1 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:49 PM


    Great teaching strategies for sure!
    Thank you for sharing. I'll add your titles to our master-list shortly.



  • #2 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:47 PM


    Thanks...I'll email you tomorrow if you have won.



  • #3 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:45 PM


    I really like the idea of mentor texts book you suggested. I am very interested myself!

    And I'll let you know if you win tomorrow.

    Merry Christmas,


  • #4 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:43 PM


    Yes, I included this in another post (both PDF and DOC format). You can find it here:

    Hope that helps...


  • #5 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:40 PM


    You are not too late. Thanks for the book suggestion. Your title is a sign of the times. Test pressure is so high right now!



  • #6 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:38 PM


    Thanks! I'll let you know tomorrow if you are selected as a winner.


  • #7 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:37 PM


    Well aren't you a funny one. :) It's only been three years before I have finally given up about comment numbers = a good post mindset, but I was happy to have such a good turnout for this book list creation. :)

    Come back tomorrow for the winners. To be officially drawn by an 8 year old and a 4 year old in the morning.


  • #8 Angela Bunyi

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:34 PM


    Thanks for all the kind words. I think I was able to gain just as much from all of the readers' suggestions as well.

    Come back shortly for the list of winners and master list of suggestions.



  • #9 Justine

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    I loved the fairly new book Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov. It highlighted some things that I already do like infusing joy in the classroom. Also, it gave me some quick new techniques like calling on students to repeat another student's answer that I feel have greatly improved my instruction (and my principal loved).

    If I were to choose, I would pick Growing Readers by Kathy Collins. By the way, I love your posts (and all of the other teachers posts) on Top Teaching, I get so many wonderful ideas for my classroom. :)

  • #10 melissa

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 09:17 PM

    In regards to post #2, #118 is the same.

  • #11 Deanna Herrmann

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 04:26 PM

    It's hard to think of just one book..Book Whisperer came to mind right away, although someone mentioned it. Also, Comprehension Connections was another one too. However, you already mentioned it. So I'll go with I Can Write Like That! It's a book full of mentor texts for craft lessons. I use it often in writer's workshop.

    Yes, you are totally great and wonderful and I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for a fun giveaway!

    If I won, I would pick Cartoon Corner off the list as a first choice and There are no Shortcuts as a second choice. Thanks!

  • #12 Kelly

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:47 AM


    Could you post a picture or share the files you used to create the bulletin board for the Tanny McGregor book about the reading strategies? Thanks!

  • #13 Brandy

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 08:43 AM

    I am currently reading Test Talk, by Amy H. Greene and Glennon Doyle Metlon. This book gives you ideas on how to integrate test taking skills into authentic reading instruction. I really like the part of the book that suggests language to use during lessons to improve test scores. I plan on incorporating many of the ideas from this book into my classroom.

    Thanks for your book suggestions. I am always looking for new books to read, and many of the ones on your list I had never heard of!

    If it's not too late, I'd be interested in the Rafi Esquith, There Are No Shortcuts. :)

  • #14 Sharon

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 09:54 PM

    #101 I'm not sure how to leave my email for my book choice other than to type it here.


  • #15 Amanda

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 05:15 PM


    Thanks for the extra positivity! I have THE worst luck... but I'll keep my fingers crossed that my name gets pulled out of the hat! I'm mainly just popping in to tease a little bit... because I know you've made comments in the past about Beth's numbers! Look at who's raking in the comments now! Woo hoo!


  • #16 Katy

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 03:46 PM


    I cannot thank you enough for this post! My initial reaction was elation at being able to see some of YOUR favorite professional reads (I am a voracious reader of professional teaching literature)...but THEN to also see everyone else's choices (as an educator that believes strongly in socio-constructivist methodology--that students learn more from each other than from a teacher--this was an incredible resource)...and FINALLY for you to be so generous as to raffle off books...what a BRILLIANT idea!

    Many of my favorite books have already been mentioned, so I'll try to throw in a few that have not been yet:

    1. Dinah Zike's foldable books are fantastic! I've only used her Math book so far, but plan on ordering the others. It is a great opportunity for my students to engage in math in a hands-on way.

    2. 25 Quick Formative Assessment for a Differentiated Classroom by Judith Dodge is a great resource for varied methods of assessment in all subject areas.

    3. Launching the Writing Workshop: A Step-by-Step Guide in Photographs by Denise Leograndis was instrumental in helping me to launch a Writing Workshop for the first time this year. Lots of great charts, mini-lessons, etc.

    4. Trait-Based Mini-Lessons for Teaching Writing Grades 2-4: I was told this year that I could implement a Writing Workshop if I aligned it with the 6+1 Traits of Writing--this book has been a TERRIFIC resource for doing so.

    5. Reciprocal Teaching at Work by Lori D. Oczkus. I'll admit that I actually have only read a few pages of this book so far, having purchased it last week. But I can already tell that it is going to be a book that seriously impacts my teaching.

    Thank you Angela, for always inspiring me as a teacher and sharing your many creative ideas and resources with us. Thanks to everyone else for your book picks! I might be buying MYSELF a few Christmas gifts this year ;)

    My book choice (if selected) would be Mosaic of Thought

  • #17 Angela Bunyi

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 12:23 PM


    Like I said with my last comment, Esquith seems to be pulling into the lead for motivational books. Thanks for sharing your story. I too have taught in an inner-city setting (I have an a concentration in urban-multi cultural education) and high achieving, affluent students. That shift is quite extreme, and both have some strong pros and cons.

    And I am raffling you off for Boy Writers (unless I hear back from you before Friday). Each Fletcher title is being raffled individually.

    Thanks for the kind words...


  • #18 Angela Bunyi

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 12:19 PM


    Esquith is either #1 or #2 on the top motivational books listed here. He is so inspiring, but I think I can settle with being 1/100 of him. It will still be 200% effort. :)

    Come back Friday to find out our winners! Thanks for your book recommendation.


  • #19 Angela Bunyi

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 12:17 PM


    I am assuming you are talking about Fred Jones that writes about positive classroom instruction/management. I have never looked at his books, so thanks for sharing.

    And you're welcome...this has been fun!


  • #20 Leah McDermott

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 08:43 AM

    My favorite professional book is definitely Rafe Esquith's "Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire!!" This book came at just the right time for me. I had been teaching in a very affluent school with students who were almost all advanced and were excited about learning. Then, with a district shuffling, I ended up in an inner city school with all minority, impoverished, low-ability level students whose behavior problems far overshadowed their need for instruction! I was completely at a loss and felt like a failure... until I read this book! What an amazing, amazing role model for teachers! If I can be 1/8th of the teacher to my students that Mr. Esquith is to his, I will have a successful year! I'm so happy to see that on your list and am thrilled for the person that will be able to read it for the first time!

    As for me, I'd love to be entered in the drawing for Ralph Fletcher's "Boy Writers and Poetry Matters." Getting my boys to write (not to even think about enjoying it) is definitely something I still struggle with, so this would probably be a great book to add to my "must-reads" for 2011.

    Thanks for all of your thoughts and inspiration, Angela! You truly are amazing! :)

    Happy Holidays,
    Leah M.

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