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Wisely Reading Recommends: Favorite Reads and Listens from the iUniversity Prep Faculty

​iUniversity Prep Teachers: Favorite Reads and Listens - Part One

MS. ALSOBROOK (Science and Art):

A Favorite Read: “Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. “Set in a beautiful old country house in pre-World War II Cornwall, the shy and insecure heroine of this psychological thriller is haunted by her imagined shortcomings as the new bride of a wealthy widower and the omnipresent and often mysterious shadow of his late first wife, as well as the very real emotional attacks of the evil housekeeper. The beautiful pastoral setting, plot twists, and stunning conclusion make this a fantastic novel.”

Suggested Listens: TED Talk: “Art With Wire, Sugar, Chocolate and String” by Vik Muniz.

Podcast: “Selected Shorts” from NPR

“In ‘Art’, a humorous and candid TED Talk, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz shares a series of creative and unexpected materials he has used to create beautiful and meaningful images, thus reminding us that fine art doesn’t always have to be serious - and inspiring us to find the artist that dwells inside all of us.

In ‘Shorts’, famous performers read short stories (one of my favorite narrative forms) that relate to a particular theme. The voice talents of the actors bring the stories to life and allow the listener to focus on the beauty of the author’s words.”


A Favorite Read: “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. “This book the speaks to American obsession with being ‘busy’ and the lies we tell ourselves that justify living this way. A few of the most powerful sections on the book are: 1) The six ‘lies’ between you and success (such as misguided beliefs about everything mattering equally, multi-tasking, etc.); 2) The secret of getting ahead is getting started; 3) Success is built sequentially; 4) The intersection of discipline and habit; and 5) Happiness happens on the way to fulfillment.”

Suggested Listens: TED Talk: “Grit: The Power of Perseverance and Persuasion” by Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth / Podcast: “The Rich Roll Podcast”.

“Dr. Duckworth’s talk speaks to me on many levels, including the educational value of understanding and teaching grit. I also enjoy Rich Roll’s weekly podcast, a wonderful series of deep conversations about wellness that features some of the brightest and most forward-thinking, paradigm-busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship and spirituality.”

MR. BETANCUR (Math and Spanish):

A Favorite Read: “The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power” by Travis Hugh Culley. “ ‘The Immortal Class’ is a fun non-fiction memoir about urban bike messengers that explores the realities of urban development and societal subcultures.”

Suggested Listens: “I enjoy many design and architecture TED Talks as well as ExtraTime Radio from MLS (Major League Soccer). I support the development of U.S. soccer and see MLS as the most effective way to stay engaged.”

MR. BOWMAN (Spanish and ELA):

A Favorite Read: “Running With The Buffaloes” by Chris Lear. “This book chronicles the 1998 season of the University of Colorado’s cross country team from summer practice to the national championships. While most would consider it a sports book, it also shows how a system works and how important the team is with respect to everyone’s goals. I found it intriguing because I enjoy taking ‘under the hood’ looks at systems and programs.”

Suggested Listen: TED Talk: “The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise” by Dr. Wendy Suzuki.

“I love learning more about the many ways that our brains benefit from exercise. In this TED Talk, Dr. Suzuki reveals how exercise can boost our mood, improve our memory, and even protect our brains from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.”

MR. BURCH (Social Studies):

A Favorite Read: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.

“Huck Finn is one of my all-time favorites! The story connects with my love of travel and adventure, all while vividly portraying the historical charm, savagery, beauty and wonder of 19th- century America.”

Suggested Listens: TED Talk: Any talk by Dr. Hans Rosling / Podcast: “Radiolab” from WNYC Studios.

“The late Dr. Rosling was a brilliant geographer whose ability to connect obscure data with everyday people made the world seem more comprehensible. His amazing, optimistic approach to what is often a pragmatic science was absolutely unmatched. I also enjoy the Radiolab podcast, a series that offers a fun and intellectually challenging take on science, nature and humanity as they relate a broad range of topics.”

MR. CARTER (Social Studies, Technology, and Math):

A Favorite Read: “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.

“Most of what we do and how we treat people is based on our habits. So, if we build healthy habits in our relationships and our lives, we'll treat others and ourselves the way that we should.”

Suggested Listens: TED Talk: “The Power of Vulnerability” by Dr. Brené Brown / Podcast: “The Moth”.

In ‘Vulnerability’, Dr. Brown talks about knowing who you are, freeing yourself from guilt and shame, and being comfortable in your own skin - wow! I’m also crazy about The Moth podcast, which features fun, powerful and often inspiring stories about the imperfections and craziness of life.”

MRS. D’ALISO (ELA, Health, and AVID):

A Favorite Read: “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor.

“I enjoy this book because it focuses on the principles of positive psychology that influence success and happiness in your life.”

Suggested Listens: TED Talk: “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Adichie.

Podcast: “Spilled Milk”.

“ ‘Spilled Milk’ is a perfect mix of comedy and foodie talk, which I enjoy because I love to stay up to date with current food and beverage trends. I also recommend ‘Single Story’ because our lives and our cultures are composed of many overlapping stories. If we only hear a single story about another person or country, we risk critical misunderstanding.”

MS. DAVIS (Math):

A Favorite Read: “The Empty Pot” by Demi.

“I love reading this book with my kids. The lesson: We don’t always receive the reward we want or deserve in life, but doing the right thing is ALWAYS worth it!”

Suggested Listen: TED Talk: “What I Learned As a Prisoner in North Korea” by Euna Lee.

“In this talk, Ms. Lee (a Korean American journalist who was arrested and eventually imprisoned by the North Korean government while shooting a documentary near the Chinese-Korean border in 2009) talks about the importance of actually making an impact - not just talking about it. I really admire people like her who have the guts to make an impact, even when they know they might pay a heavy price for their courage.”

MR. DUBAN (Science and Social Studies):

A Favorite Read: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card.

‘Ender's Game’ eloquently combines futuristic science fiction with ethical dilemmas that resonate true even in the current real world. The story underscores the importance of thinking ahead like you do in a game of chess, while also dealing with the stress of unexpected variables, especially when the fate of the planet is on the line.”

Suggested Listen: TED Talk: “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek.

“This TED talk stresses the importance of starting with the ‘why’ and not the ‘what’ when trying to sell a product or persuade in a discussion. As a student, I recall wondering many times why we were learning something. Sinek’s discussion really resonated with me as an educator - and today I always start lessons by explaining the ‘why’ before I get to the ‘what’.”

(Fun facts: “Ender’s Game" and “Start With Why” are also favorites of Mr. Duban’s iUniversity Prep colleagues, Mr. Hamrick and Ms. Weiche.)

MR. HAMRICK (Social Studies):

A Few Favorite Reads: “The d'Artagnan Romances” (the “Three Musketeers” series) by Alexandre Dumas.

“I first read ‘The Three Musketeers’ when I was a kid (and comically mispronounced the hero's name) and was immediately drawn in by the adventure, heroism, intrigue, and interplay among the characters. As I grew older, I dove into Dumas' complete cycle of books about our Musketeers, and now I re-read them once a year or so because I love how they portray lifetime friendships. The Musketeers may disagree, take opposite sides, or even oppose each other on the battlefield - but in the end, they are still friends. It’s a lesson that’s sorely needed in today's polarized world.

“Other favorite reads include ‘Once an Eagle’ by Anton Myrer, a fascinating look at leadership that’s required reading at West Point; ‘The Winds of War/War and Remembrance’ by Herman Wouk, a two-part historical fiction about one family’s experiences during World War II that also features real-life historical figures; and ‘Time and Again’ by Jack Finney, an illustrated novel and poignant look at the past that really makes you FEEL as if you were time traveling.”

Suggested Listen: TED Talk: “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” by Sir Ken Robinson.

“As an educator, I believe it’s just as important to cultivate our students’ creativity as it is to facilitate their academic learning. Sir Ken’s podcast is an excellent introduction to his written works that further explore this concept.”

Read more iUniversity Prep blog articles


Dr. Kaye Rogers received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration with a minor in Statistics from the University of North Texas. She earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Tarleton State University. A life-long Texan, she has taught math and science in public schools and also in Spain. She has worked in public education for over 18 years, where she is committed to innovation and choice for families. She has opened three choice schools and is currently the Director of Virtual Learning at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, where she oversees their state-wide virtual school and blended schools program.

Learn more about iUniversity Prep and see if online learning is right for your child. Check us out at or give us a call at 817-305-4895.

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