5 Great Books for Educational Psychologists

books for educational psychologists

Essentials for Every Educational Psychology Library

  • Why Don’t Students Like School?
  • The Handbook of Educational Psychology
  • The Absorbent Mind
  • How Children Learn
  • Make It Stick

Books for educational psychologists aren’t always strictly penned discipline-specific texts. Scholars and researchers who develop truly effective pedagogy must have an expansive and practical personal library. To understand what that means in simple terms, one must understand how the minds of young or experienced students absorb and utilize information. After all, education must be, at its core, more than simple memorization. It must become a practical part of the student’s entire world-view.

1. Why Don’t Students Like School?

Education is a recursive process between teachers and students, but understanding the more elegant aspects of this cognitive dynamic isn’t always a simple proposition. Dan Willingham provides educators with guidelines for creating a lasting impression both in and outside of the classroom. In addition to exploring the cognitive mechanics of the learning process, Willingham outlines nine principles in easy to grasp language. Students learn most effectively when all aspects of their lived experience are engaged through the use of emotion, narrative structure, context, memory, and routine.

2. The Handbook of Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is a field that holds a benefit for those who formally study this aspect of the human experience and those who are actively engaged in the classroom according to the American Psychological Association. The pursuit of greater understanding of the human brain and how it parses sensory data, as well as information packets with which it is presented, is a large part of this scholarly field. However, in order to derive the most robust benefit from the study of the student mind, it’s vital to take a broader perspective. Incorporating concepts of lived context, learning styles, culturally dependent or privileged attitudes in education, and other matters provides an essential foundation for comprehending the science of comprehension and retention.

3. The Absorbent Mind

Maria Montessori is credited with creating a more student-oriented way to teach. Since she wrote this astounding educational manifesto, her system has taken root in a number of countries with diverse cultural perspectives. In response to the industrialized sensibilities of today’s American educational landscape, many schools are turning back to her classic message of care for the individual development of each student. While Montessori was not a trained educational psychologist, her work holds a great deal of value for those interested in understanding how and why students learn, what they retain, and which pedagogical implements have the most applicability in today’s American classroom.

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4. How Children Learn

In the past, there have been pedagogies that disregard entirely the various needs of different ages of learners. Children, especially those of tender age, require a more significant proportion of contextual and physical-spatial activity-based learning, primarily because they are still developing the neurological hardware of being human. John Holt’s classic is one of the great books for educational psychologists, teachers, and parents alike because it renders childhood education as a simple, natural process akin to breathing.

5. Make It Stick

Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel turn the concept of concretely different learning styles on its head by exploring the latest research in memory storage. They also draw on the human capacity for novel innovation and drawing on stores of previously learned information when solving new types of problems. They introduce new strategies for active learning based on our most current understanding of human memory creation and retention that countermand decades of counterproductive study techniques like cramming or highlighting.


In order to reach such goals, scholars must deeply comprehend how the mind works and how it makes use of information. These five essential books for educational psychologists will help both those new to the field and professionals with long experience in the classroom environment to build a better experience for both educators and students of all ages.

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