Ideas > How To Do a Book Study

Robin Fogarty & Associates

In A Nutshell Books

“The Perfect Book Study”


How to Do a Book Study: Easy as 1-2-3...4!


One District’s Story

The principals and the staff development team selected a book, Close the Achievement Gap: Simple Strategies that Work, Pete and Fogarty, for district-wide distribution to all staff.  Then, each school, within the district, created book study teams that made sense to them.  Some did grade level teams or department teams or core academic teams.  Yet, each team became a community of learners as they decided how they would “study” the book. Ideas ranged from discussion questions to role-plays; from strategy sessions to partner debriefings.


The defining piece involved two, scheduled, professional development sessions, with the authors. One session in the fall and one session in the winter, served to bring the ideas in the book alive, and to demonstrate the strategies for immediate application in the k12 classrooms.  This model of professional development epitomized the best practices in professional development for the adult learner.  The professional learning was sustained over a year’s time. It was job-embedded, collegial by nature, integrated with various elements of text, people to people interactions and professional presentations.  In addition, the professional learning was highly interactive and extremely practical.


Follow these four easy steps, and plan a book study PD experience for your district.

Step 1: Establish Instructional Goals - Select District-Wide Book

Step 2: Create Communities of Learners - Building-Level Study Teams

Step 3: Share Book Study Ideas - Select/Schedule Team Approach

Step 4: Plan PD Presentation to Bring the Book Alive


How to Do a Book Study in Four Easy Steps

Step 1: Instructional Goals-District-Wide Book

•    Analyze District Data
•    Determine Instructional Goal
•    Align to SIP (School Improvement Plan)


Step 2: Community of Learners - Building-Level Study Teams

•    Grade level teams
•    Department teams
•    Core academic teams
•    One Wing of building
•    Vertical teams (across grade-levels)
•    Pre-selected teams


Step 3: Book Study Ideas

•    Chapter by Chapter - Teams Present Information
•    Literature Circles - Team Develops and Discusses Questions
•    Key Concepts - Team Role Plays Ideas
•    Applications of Ideas - Team Directs Strategies to Try
•    Independent Reading - Team Debriefs in Pairs
•    Written Summaries - Team Creates Graphic Organizers


Step 4: PD Presentation to bring the book alive

•    External Consultant PD Presentations
•    Building Teams Provide PD Presentations
•    Building Teams are Sent to Partner Building to Share Ideas


A Book Study Activity to Try: Cooperative Learning Tear-Share

Instructions (Teams of 4):

1. Everyone reads entire piece on "The Perfect Book Study."

2. Everyone responds to all 4 questions below.  Teams count off by 4's; tear paper into 4 sections and pass appropriate numbered section to that numbered person or group.

3. Numbers preview all 4 responses for their number and give an oral summary.               
4. Open discussion follows after all have shared.


1. Describe a PD "book study."

A book study is like

______________ (concrete object) because both ______________   ______________ . (comparison)



2. Rank the preferred study team organization.
___ GR/Dept Team
___ Wing of Bldg
___ Vertical Team 
        (across  
        grade-levels)
___ Cross-
        Departmental       
        Team



3.  Explain how a "PD session" and "book study" might go together.




4.  List three possible professional books/topics of interest for a book study.



       Recommended In a Nutshell Books:
  • How to Differentiate
  • Close the Achievement Gap
  • Literacy Matters
  • Best Practices
  • Data! Dialogue! Decision!
  • Twelve Brain Principles

                    Please call us at 1-800-213-9246 if you wish to place an order.