Reading for fun and growth this summer

Howdy. I’m Rachel – new Professional Development Coordinator at the Tarrant Institute. I live in the beautiful southern part of Vermont and am thrilled to join the staff of TIIE after 16 years of teaching literacy and social studies to amusing adolescents.

Typically, I devour books during the summer. One of my favorite things to do is to ignore the demands of my children, my household, and my job, and just get lost in a book. It is summer, after all.

But I’ve been doing more work than usual this summer, and neglecting my reading. Here’s one pretty mindless book that I’ve managed to polish off – The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty. I do love the author for her juicy plot lines and realistic characters, but it was fluff reading.

Now, I have a little more time to expand my brain with books. I just started reading and listening to Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. This is nice to listen to in the car, because it’s 700 pages and hard to hold upright when reading in bed. It’s a fascinating look behind the complicated personality of Steve Jobs. Many times I’ve thought about reading this book, and now is the time. Despite any personal opinions you may have about the man, and I’m sure there are many, a couple of significant themes are woven throughout the book. The first is that design should be simple and friendly and intuitive – something that Apple has mastered. The more compelling theme is that innovation and creativity come from wild daring, ruthless tenacity, and the unfaltering belief that you can achieve your dream. We can all learn something from him.

Next on my list is to re-read Carol S. Dweck’s gem, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. I’ve read this book before; years ago, I heard her interview on NPR’s Fresh Air and had one of those moments when you are sitting in the car still listening in the driveway. I instantly checked the book out of the library, and was amazed by her useful theories around growth mindset and achieving goals. It was immediately helpful for me, both as a teacher and as a parent. When I was preparing for some work around Personal Learning Plans at the Middle Grades Institute last month, I was reminded of her work and its relevance to the subject. So, it’s time to read it again. Everyone should read this book. Truly. But if you’re too lazy, at least watch her Ted Talk.



Rachel Mark

Rachel Mark joins the Tarrant Institute as a Professional Development Coordinator in the southern part of Vermont. Prior to working with TIIE, Rachel was a middle school literacy and social studies teacher at Tarrant partner school Manchester Elementary-Middle. As a teacher, Rachel loved exploring new content and new methods with inquisitive young adolescents. She thinks middle schools are the most dynamic learning centers in the state. Rachel is passionate about supporting teachers and helping them overcome obstacles; it’s her mission to break down the barriers that teachers face in implementing change. She is interested in student reflection and portfolio based assessment, inquiry and project-based learning When she's not reading, researching and supporting teachers, Rachel loves to play. She balances her life shuttling three busy kids around by getting sweaty and zen - yoga, exercise, and being outdoors are how she recharges her metaphorical batteries.

6 thoughts on “Reading for fun and growth this summer

What do you think?