Required Reading

As you might gather from my Goodreads list, I’m a big reader, and I love sharing book recommendations with friends and colleagues. Here are some books I’d recommend to you about the science of learning, the study of education, and the world at large. Plus, I’ve included some links to some great web-based resources you might enjoy.


  • How We Learn, by Benedict Carey: As I wrote here, I loved this book in 2014. It’s pop science, but it’s got terrific insights and thoughtful analysis. Highly recommended for kids and adults who want to maximize their understanding of how learning proceeds.
  • A Mind for Numbers, by Barbara Oakley: Another terrific book from 2014, this book is a good resource for math and science specifically, but it’s a great general academic help resource.
  • The Distraction Addiction, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang: This book was life-changing for me in variety of ways, especially the section on email apnea (think about it!!) and the general tips for bringing mindfulness into your daily practice. Run, don’t walk, to find this book.
  • The App Generation, by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis: I loved this book and its call to educated “app-enabled” rather than “app-dependent” kids. Written with the engaging, warm prose you’ve come to expect from Howard Gardner.
  • The Smartest Kids in the World, by Amanda Ripley: meditations on education in Finland, South Korea, and Poland, and how each country’s cultures around education have brought kids academic success.
  • Creative Confidence, by Tom and David KellyA great book from the brothers who helm IDEO, all about the risk-taking and humility required in the creative process. Totally inspiring and worth the read.


  • The Dyslexic Advantage, by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide: this book sets out to be the be-all, end-all guide to navigating school and life with dyslexia. It’s a pretty terrific resource, and it’s a good read for any family with a neurodiverse learner.
  • Overcoming Dyslexia, by Dr. Sally Shaywitz: Dr Shaywitz is one of the most famous champions of understanding and advocacy for dyslexia in this country. With good reason: she’s brilliant and thoughtful, and she continues to do work that’s fresh, relevant, and always supportive of kids and adults with dyslexia. Don’t be turned off by the (sometimes controversial) suggestion that dyslexia can be “overcome”; instead, come with an open mind and be prepared to be empowered and inspired.


  • iQ: smartparent
    iQ: smartparent is WQED‘s show about parenting in the digital age. It’s the first WQED show distributed nationally since WQED produced Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and we’re proud of our network’s long legacy of thoughtful leadership in promoting growth and learning for children.
  • Common Sense Media 
    Common Sense Media rates, educates, and advocates, for kids, families, and schools. As a reviewer for Common Sense’s consumer and education channels since 2013, I test and review digital tools to help teachers, parents, and kids use technology as a powerful tool for learning.
  • EdTechTeacher’s Guide to Apps
    Formerly called “iPad as…”, this site is my favorite way to search for apps and tools sorted by learning task. Use this site as a way to search for tools by function; then use Graphite (see above) to read about each app’s quality and best uses at home and in the classroom.
  • Remake Learning Network
    This is the website of the Pittsburgh-area local network of educators, innovators, and thinkers working hard to bring innovative educational theory and practice to children in Western Pennsylvania. The Sprout Fund, where I work, served as strategic steward of the Remake Learning Network from 2011 to 2017.
  • is a partnership of several terrific nonprofits that offers guidance, research, and resources for the families of students with learning and attention issues. Its sponsoring nonprofits include Common Sense Media (full disclosure: one of my employers), CAST, and Parents Education Network.
  • Learning Ally (formerly Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic)
    An exceptional resource for students with vision impairments, dyslexia, and reading difficulties.
  • The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity
    My favorite-named institute ever, this is Dr. Sally Shaywitz’s organization at Yale. A great and inspiring website with lots of resources.
  • CAST: Center for Applied Special Technology
    CAST was founded by one of my graduate school professors. The Center has a long tradition of offering outstanding leadership and scholarship in how students learn.
  • Parents Education Network
    Founded by a Convent of the Sacred Heart High School (SF) parent, PEN is an extraordinary resource for Bay Area educators and families. Check their website often for upcoming events and opportunities in our area.
  • National Center for Learning Disabilitites
    Another terrific national resource for information and advocacy.
  • Edutopia
    George Lucas’s nonprofit educational foundation. This site is updated frequently with interesting articles and thought-provoking discussions.
  • LDOnline
    A great online resource for families of students with learning difference diagnoses.

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