Five Essential Article Reads for Teachers

Below I’ve listed and briefly summarized five articles that, I believe, should be required reading for all teachers. I do not choose the articles lightly and, by no means, is this a comprehensive list. There certainly are other fantastic articles that should be read.

Ultimately, I chose these five articles for the following reasons:

-They strike at the heart of improving learning.

-They are widely applicable across many grade levels, ability levels, and subject areas.

-They are easy reads. The information is easily digested and applied to the classroom, regardless of technology or supplies available.

-They are all open access. Just click on the links.

So, here goes…I hope you enjoy.

  1. Study Strategies to Boost Learning by Dr. John Dunlosky (10 pages)

Dr. Dunlosky discusses ten learning strategies in this article. That, alone, is wonderful information. He takes it to another level, though. Dr. Dunlosky rates the strategies from those that show the most promise for improving student achievement (practice testing and distributed practice) to less useful strategies. In ten pages, the reader receives a lot of material to consider. High quality stuff, here. 

  1. Research Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know by Dr. Barak Rosenshine (9 pages)

This article presents ten research based strategies and suggestions for classroom practice. Dr. Rosenshine does a great job of providing just enough research with each strategy and then relates that information to teachers in the classroom. Simple. Easy. Effective.

  1. The Case for Fully Guided Instruction by Dr. Richard Clark, Dr. Paul Kirschner, and Dr. John Sweller (6 pages)

The authors do a wonderful job, in this article, of explaining why direct, explicit instruction is more effective and efficient for novice learners and partial guidance may hinder learning. Another aspect of this article that adds to its worth is its brief explanation of memory structures (long-term memory and working memory) and how this knowledge should impact how instruction is delivered to students.  

  1. Optimizing Learning in College: Tips from Cognitive Psychology by Dr. Adam Putnam, Dr. Victor Sungkhasettee, and Dr. Henry Roediger, III (7 pages)

While this paper is obviously focusing on the college student, much of its information can easily apply to younger learners. What’s so great about this article is its organization. The authors provide a timeline of how to prepare before, during, and after class to maximize learning. Also, there are sections on how to prepare for tests and other general tips for studying and learning.

  1. 6 Practice Guides by Cognitive Scientists by Dr. Pooja Agarwal, Dr. Henry Roediger, III, Dr. Mark McDaniel, Dr. Kathleen McDermott, Dr. Doug Rohrer, Dr. Robert Dedrick, Dr. Shana Carpenter, Dr. Lisa Son, Dr. Nicole Furlonge, Dr. Steven Pan, and Dr. Lisa Fazio (8-13 pages)

Ok. So this isn’t really an article, but six wonderful practice guides on topics ranging from learning strategies to metacognition to early childhood education. The guides do a great job of establishing a solid base of evidence to support the information provided while also providing ample practical tips and tricks to implement the strategies. 

All of these articles are ready to be read by teachers (and students). I can easily see teachers reading one during a planning block/period, or a group of teachers reading a few throughout the semester for a discussion group. They’re accessibility and practicality really make them so valuable to teachers. I know, when I read something educational, I want it to provide evidence of its effectiveness and give me ideas for how I can apply this information in my classroom to improve my students’ learning. All of the articles above do just that. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Happy reading and learning. 🙂

What have I missed?

Rob McEntarffer ( reminded me of two wonderful articles that definitely deserve your time:

  1. If You Learn A, Will You Be Better Able to Learn B? by Dr. Pedro De Bruyckere, Dr. Paul Kirschner, and Dr. Casper Hulshof (7 pages)
  2. Cognitive Load Theory: Research that Teachers Really Need to Understand by the Center for Education Statistics and Evaluation (NSW) (12 pages)

Shaun Killian ( recommends you have a read of this quite comprehensive article:

  1. Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions from Cognitive and Educational Psychology by Dr. John Dunlosky, Dr. Katherine Rawson, Dr. Elizabeth Marsh, Dr. Mitchell Nathan, and Dr. Daniel Willingham (55 pages)

Kevin Fulton ( brought this wonderful article to my attention:

  1. How to Teach Critical Thinking by Dr. Daniel Willingham (17 pages)

Ok…I’m adding another read myself:

  1. Making Things Hard on Yourself, But in a Good Way: Creating Desirable Difficulties to Enhance Learning by Dr. Elizabeth Bjork and Dr. Robert Bjork (9 pages)

Think of an article that deserves to be included? Click here and tell me about it. I might add it to the blog post.

6 thoughts on “Five Essential Article Reads for Teachers

Add yours

  1. Such a treasure trove of resources. Some of these I was already familiar with; others, I wasn’t. Thank you for taking the time to gather these together and make these recommendations.

  2. Optimizing Learning in College: Tips from Cognitive Psychology by Dr. Adam Putnam, Dr. Victor Sungkhasettee, and Dr. Henry Roediger, III (7 pages)

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