Our Favorite Executive Function Books

Sometimes you just need to curl up with a book… about executive function, of course! The first step to teaching executive function strategies that reach all students, including those with learning differences, is to educate yourself on the important role that executive function plays in learning. Each year researchers are discovering new ways to understand the executive function processes we rely on to achieve our goals, so I’m sure this list will be updated, but here are the current books on my bookshelf that I use as Director of SMARTS.

Promoting Executive Function in the Classroom

This book, published by Guilford Press, is my go-to resource for a classroom friendly explanation of executive function. It also contains a number of reproducible handouts and practical strategies for helping students organize, prioritize, set goals, think flexibly, and self-monitor and self-check. There’s also an excellent chapter on emotional regulation, which helped me come up with strategies to help a student who was struggling with a lot of anxiety. Disclaimer, many of the authors of this book are now my co-workers! I can tell you, they know their stuff. Head over to the Guilford Press website for a free sample chapter.

Executive Function in Education: From Theory to Practice (2nd Edition)

Another great resource on executive function edited by Lynn Meltzer! The second edition is in press and will be released in February 2018. As opposed to the first book, this title is more research focused, offering theoretical models and research studies to ground your understanding of executive function. With chapters from Martha Denckla, Howard Gardner, Karen Harris, Steven Graham, and Phillip Zelazo, this book explores how executive function relates to a range of academic tasks as well as various student populations. You can reserve your copy of the second edition now, or check out a sample chapter of the first edition, at the Guilford Press website.

The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success

This book, one in a series by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare, is a great resource when working directly with students. The authors provide a number of activities and handouts to help students develop increased self-awareness as well as the strategies they need to manage their time, make plans, and set goals. Dawson and Guare have published editions for younger kids, teenagers, and even adults in the workplace. Head to the Guilford Press website (where else!) to check out a free chapter.


These are my favorites at the moment. What do you think? Am I missing anything?

  • Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director