GLP Summer Reading List (Part Two)

A Vision for the Future: Why and How

Here is a link to part one of our summer reading list!

August is here and many of us are finally taking some serious time away to relax and reflect before “back to school” is our reality. It’s a great time to read two books we believe are “musts” for imagining what can be in the new year. Full disclosure: The authors of both books are valued colleagues and friends. Nevertheless, we believe they’ve succeeded in clearly articulating answers to the most essential questions of WHY and HOW for the kinds of changes we need to make if we want to develop healthy and well-prepared students for the 21st century.

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era

Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith  

Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids

Denise Pope, Maureen Brown and Sarah Miles


In Most Likely to Succeed, Tony and Ted Dintersmith make the case for WHY our traditional education system is not designed to produce the creative, collaborative and independent learners ready to enter an innovation economy. In a cohesively synthesized narrative loaded with data and research, the authors lay out a new vision for learning, curricula and school design that aligns with the skills and capacities students truly need to thrive in an economy that has been fundamentally altered by technological advancement. The book is both broad and deep in its examination of the problem. It is highly accessible, witty and considerate of the concerns and needs of parents, students and educators. It’s meant for all of us—and if widely read, will change the national dialogue on education. This book is a natural complement and deepening of the film Most Likely to Succeed and will equip you with a nuanced understanding of why change is so necessary for our children and our country.

In Overloaded and Underprepared, Pope, Brown and Miles get very practical about the immediate need and opportunity for schools and parents to make positive changes in students’ lives. Their book is about HOW and is one of the best blueprints for action we’ve seen; written for parents and schools hoping to make learning a healthier, more engaging experience that prepares students for the demands ahead. The book uses case studies, research and examples from their work at Challenge Success, where they partner with schools and families to provide kids with the academic, social, and emotional skills needed to succeed now and in the future. The authors give us examples of how real schools—independent, public, rural and suburban—have made concrete changes to create healthier learning climates for their students by looking at the daily schedule and the demands of homework and traditional classroom practices. This tool-based book highlights the importance of student engagement and everything that goes along with it—from rethinking classroom pedagogy and assessment to building a climate of care with students, parents, and faculty/staff.

These books call for us to reconsider our assumptions about what school should look like and why by making the case for change and illuminating ways that some schools are already committing to new ways to support students and educators. So end your summer with two great reads that will equip you for igniting change in your school this year!