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Good to Great Teaching

Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters

By Mary Howard
Foreword by Richard L Allington

Mary shares a step-by-step process for focusing on the literacy work that matters—identifying  good work, celebrating great work, and accommodating highest-quality practices. She describes exemplary teachers who lead the process of evaluating, adjusting, and elevating your teaching.

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Full Description

We often talk about the importance of, and benefits of focused intentional teaching. Mary Howard is not only the champion of such instruction, but she coaches the rest of us, breaking it down so we can all do great work that truly matters.Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (the Sisters),
authors of The Daily Five

In this valuable resource for teachers, Mary Howard shares a step-by-step process for focusing on the literacy work that matters in any effective literacy design—including schools implementing the  Common Core State Standards and an RTI model—to identify good work, to celebrate great work, and to accommodate high quality literacy practices.

Throughout Good to Great Teaching, Mary describes spotlight teachers who will guide you through a process of evaluating, adjusting, and elevating your teaching. Personal reflection tools are included to help you alleviate anything that deters your efforts to accomplish what you already do well and move your teaching to even higher levels. Mary will take you into real classrooms where practical ideas rooted in best practice offer a clear understanding of what great work can feel like, look like, and sound like.

As you work through this reflective process on your own or with colleagues, you will:

  • build a common understanding  of the quality of great work
  • generate vision statements and overarching goals to guide your literacy design
  • identify how to sustain great work to keep the momentum going.

No matter where you are in your teaching career, the real key to great work is what you bring to the table. Let Mary lead you as you move from good to great teaching so you can focus on the literacy work that really matters.

Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)


Foreword by Richard L. Allington



Chapter 1: Building a Common Understanding for Bad Work, Good Work, and Great Work

Chapter 2: Generating Vision Statements and Overarching Goals to Guide Your Literacy Design

Chapter 3: Sharpening Our Students Lens to Accommodate Targeted Differentiation<

Chapter 4: Designing an Inclusive Instructional Plan that Allows Time for More Great Work

Chapter 5: Reframing Assessment as a Professional Tool to Promote Instructional Change

Chapter 6: Sustaining Our Great Work as We Keep the Momentum Going



Companion Resources

Study Guide
Web Form 1: Reflective Lesson Analysis and Interactive Samples
Web Form 2: Ongoing Goal Setting Pie Chart
Web Form 3: Interactive Central Goal with a Working Action Plan
Web Form 4: Personal Investigation of Instructional Grouping Activities
Web Form 5: Varied Instructional Grouping Activity Planning Form
Web Form 6: Status of the Class Weekly Overview of Instructional Opportunities
Web Form 7: Instructional Planning Form and Lesson Guide
Web Form 8: Instructional Transformation through Professional Decision Making
Web Form 9: Exploring Daily Assessment Practices and Possibilities
Web Form 10: Informal Assessment and Instructional Planning Record
Web Form 11: Timeline of Personal Professional Growth Transformation


Mary Howard’s book is a gift to teachers everywhere—a gift of alternatives to help us move from practices that don’t work (and never have) to ones that transform us into the reflective, knowledgeable decision-makers we must become.”

Sharon Taberski, author of Comprehension From the Ground Up

“Good to Great Teaching invites a heightened awareness of the range of practices that can help educators use instructional minutes with greater wisdom—finding more ways to teach smarter rather than working harder.

Linda Hoyt, author of Crafting Nonfiction Primary

Using authentic examples that illustrate how teachers are transforming their teaching through self-reflection, decision-making, and action goals Mary guides teachers through the process of critically examining their work and creating plans for improving their instructional practices.

Linda Dorn, author of Interventions That Work

Mary focuses on helping teachers move from bad work, to good work, and then on to great work. Read this book, think hard about the ideas set forth, and then go work on becoming a teacher who does great work every day, all day.

Richard L. Allington, Ph.D author of What Really Matters for Struggling Readers

Related PD Services


Email if you would like to contact Mary Howard directly about professional development support.