Summer Book Study: The Listening Leader by Shane Safir

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” 

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

In about a month, we will be reading together our 3rd book selection.

This book was selected because it might be just what we need in our high-stress and low-thanks educational worlds right now. As Safir notes in the beginning of Chapter 1:

Listening is the gateway to equitable school transformation. The “test‐and‐punish” era created a culture of compliance that made it difficult to hear parent, student, and staff voices. Listening Leadership offers a simple yet groundbreaking way of being and leading.

Next are a few questions with answers that seem to come up prior and during a book study on this blog.

When does the book study begin?

We hope to start in early June and go through the summer. The following educators have agreed to read and write about The Listening Leader this summer:

  • Carrie Thomas
  • Annie Palmer
  • Heather McKay
  • Michelle Olson
  • Ryanne Deschane
  • Paige Bergin
  • Rita Platt
  • Jennifer McDonough
  • Jamie Cicconetti
  • Virginia Soukup

Each of these professionals has provided thoughtful and well-written articles for previous book studies.

How do I participate?

First, purchase the book.

Regarding the nature of the online book study, it is hosted on this site. It is not like a Twitter chat, or an in-person book club for that matter. You could almost describe this learning experience as a “slow chat”. Contributors write responses (blog posts) to the common resource. Readers write comments. The contributor may respond to the comments, in which case an actual conversation may ensue.

Blog posts are also shared on various social media channels. Any time a contributor publishes here, I share their post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin. If you like what contributors here are writing, I would encourage you to do the same. If people are not on these social media channels, they can subscribe to this blog with their email address or their WordPress credentials. They can also subscribe to this blog’s newsletter.

Can I contribute to this book study?

When this book is selected, a newsletter was published calling for contributors to participate directly on this site. If you have missed this opportunity, readers are encouraged to still respond to the book by posting on their own blog or website. An example comes from the blog “Literacy Pages” around the 2018 book study selection: Meaningful Professional Development. By including hashtags and Twitter handles when sharing out a post, readers and/or the author will more likely see it and promote it.

If you are not comfortable at this time in writing your own posts, then I would encourage readers to comment on what is published. The goal of these online book studies, beyond promoting an excellent resource, is to grow every educator to becoming a literacy leader. The more interaction we have in this forum, the smarter we may become.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s