Retrieval Practice: Research and Resources for Every Classroom, by Kate Jones
What is the book about?
Head of department, classroom teacher and award-winning educational speaker and author Kate Jones breaks down arguably the most popular area of cognitive psychology in education: Retrieval Practice. The book covers a wealth of academic research as well as innovative ways to apply it in the classroom.
Why read this book?
This book is the definitive one-stop shop for all things Retrieval Practice. Kate Jones covers the seminal research in a clear way and then uses her experience in the classroom to illustrate how to translate it into practice. This book will be of interest to everyone in Teaching & Learning as it covers other important areas that are linked to memory, such as spacing, interleaving and dual coding.
Who is this book for?
This book will help those in charge of Teaching & Learning, as well as both new and experienced teachers.
Kate Jone’s book is very evidence-based. So much so that it might be the most comprehensive overview of the research in this area that we have come across. Kate also provides a reference list of academic journals and complementary books on the area at the end of each chapter. This means that, in addition to everything you can learn from the book itself, you know exactly where to look for further reading.
The book is conveniently divided into four distinct chapters, which build on each other:
- ‘What the research tells us’
- ‘Retrieval Practice in the classroom’
- ‘Retrieval Practice and the science of learning’
- ‘Retrieval Practice and revision strategies’
The reader can either read it cover-to-cover or quickly find a specific section or strategy. This flexible approach makes this a book that you can easily refer back to regularly, as it is very easy to dip in and out and of it.
One of our favourite features of this book is that it is well designed, making it easier to read. Several illustrations summarise the key points – a very clever nod to Dual Coding, discussed in the book as well.
What really separates this book from most that we have read in this area, is how practical and useful it is. We obviously love the research focus of it, but this book has managed to cover the research and present numerous strategies and suggestions on how to implement Retrieval Practice in the classroom effectively as well. You’ll find many new games and tips in there – we especially liked ‘Retrieval Practice Placemat’, ‘Picture Prompt’ and ‘Walkabout Bingo’.
Furthermore, there is a nice little section on how to utilise technology to enhance Retrieval Practice, a growing area of interest for both researchers and educators. Her recommendations of ‘Quizizz’ and ‘Plicker’ are definitely worth checking out.
Value for money
This book is great value for money. It’s on Bookshop.org for £11.50, which is amazing given its quality. What also makes this book so worth it is the amount of free resources that comes with it. These can be downloaded online through a barcode at the back of the book for no extra cost.
Why we love this book
- Topical – Given the current drive to become more research-engaged in education, many teachers will find something they’re interested in in this book.
- Practical – It provides evidence-based strategies teachers can easily employ in the classroom.
- Clearly illustrated – This complements the ideas discussed in the book well.
- Universal – Both new and experienced teachers would benefit from this book.
Being a teacher herself, Kate Jones has given this book an incredibly authentic feel. If the area of memory and retrieval practice interests you, we cannot think of a better recommendation than Retrieval Practice: Research and Resources for Every Classroom. The research it covers is thorough and comprehensive, whilst the strategies and tips on how to weave it into classroom practice are innovative and practical. Simply put, Kate Jones has provided the ultimate guide for teachers on how to use retrieval practice in the classroom.
If you have already read this book or are looking to expand your knowledge of teaching practices further, we recommend reading:
- The Learning Rainforest: Great Teaching in Real Classrooms, by Tom Sherrington
- The Science of Learning: 99 Studies That Every Teacher Needs to Know, by Bradley Busch & Edward Watson
- Why Don’t Students Like School? A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom, by Daniel Willingham
If you have limited time and are looking for something a little less comprehensive that can still allow you to make positive changes to your classroom, have a look at our blogs on the subject. Here are the ones we recommend you start with: