***Post written by Rachel Roberts, GPR Representative for WSPA***
Happy Summer Everyone!
As much as the summer months are about recovering, relaxing, and resting, for me, it is also about preparing for the approaching school year. I am making calendars, updating logs, planning interventions, and registering for conferences. I am also reading! I must admit that most of my reading is related to this profession that we all share.
This year several of my chosen books are related to understanding and intervening with students that display challenging behaviors. The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, written by Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport, M.D. and Lost and Found: Helping Behaviorally Challenging Students, written by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., are two of my favorites and I frequently refer back to them. Each day as school psychologists we are tasked with helping our students do their best in the classroom so that they can learn, participate, and engage academically and socially. These books provide me with ample strategies, tips, and tools that allow me to do my job more effectively, which in turn, should support teachers and other school staff to help support our students in the classroom. I am heavily focusing this coming school year on building the capacity in others. I truly believe these books strengthen my ability to consult and collaborate. Two other books that are catching my attention are Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement by Eric Jensen and The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. I am anticipating that these will provide even more ways to support students in the classroom.
A new interest of mine is the concept of trauma-sensitive or trauma-informed schools. I have just started reading it, but I am captivated by The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog, written by Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. and Maia Szalavitz. Next on the reading list is Better than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management by Dominque Smith, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey. Many of our students are experiencing difficulties in the classroom setting because of their experiences. I have countless stories shared with me each year by families, staff, counselors, and the students themselves that detail the traumatic events that these young students have experienced or are experiencing. Understanding the connection between challenging behaviors and traumatic experiences is a necessity. It will allow us to appropriately intervene with our students.
As you may have noticed, at this time, I am not prepared to write book reviews or even provide a Top 10 Must Read list. I am merely sharing and referencing books that have sparked by attention and interests. I hope that you too will share what you are reading, so that I may add it to a future reading list. As for me, I am going to grab a cup of coffee and open up a book!