We all have good intentions when it comes to our students.

We all also have to rely on habits when it comes to how we talk with students.

And, we all end up in (at least some) language habits that run counter to our best intentions.

This is the main theme that runs through this book.

With lots of practical advice and tons of “instead of this–try this” charts, this book is a friendly and helpful guide for educators who are ready to…

  • boost academic engagement
  • support positive behavior
  • build powerful and positive communities of learners.

This book is written for PreK-12+ educators in all roles: teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, support staff, and others.

What We Say and How We Say It Matter was chosen as an ASCD premium member book and was sent to more than 15,000 educators around the world.

Five months after its release, What We Say and How We Say It Matter hit bestseller status!

Many schools have used this book as a whole-staff read to help push conversations about respectful and impactful language.

This book has some solid advice to strengthen your teaching, classroom relationships/management, and help students develop agency in their own learning process. I didn’t even realize that some of the things I was saying–things I thought were little AND things I’d been taught–were detracting from my effectiveness and my students’ learning processes. I listened to this on audible, which was great to start–but also planned to purchase the hard copy so that I can highlight ways of saying things / not saying things that I really want to develop, practice, and extend. Highly recommend for educators (both home school and public school; principals and teachers and assistants!).

–Angela S. (Amazon book review)


I was so excited to get this book and it didn’t disappoint. It’s carefully laid out with educators in mind, and has so much information while still being user friendly. Mike Anderson is a wealth of knowledge. He not only provides specific, detailed strategies and scenarios, but delivers them in a genuine, realistic way that allows educators to grow rather than feel defeated. I’ve focused on teacher language for years and this is the first book that has taught me something new- and I’m seeing the benefits with my students.

–Jeff Jahn (Amazon book review)

You can view the table of contents and read the first chapter of this book here.

The following posts each explore a small facet of language and will give you a taste of the tone of this book:

If you’re interested in hearing me talk about this book, check out this interview on Bam! Radio.

Many schools are having all faculty and staff read this book together. Here’s a free study guide that can help you as you plan. With three different options to choose from, you can use the one that’s best for you or blend them together to create your own.

There is also a quick reference guide available for this book. It is an easy to use and visually stunning trifold guide for educators to keep on-hand as they work with students. In addition to practical advice and sample language, it includes a reusable planning guide to help teachers stay on track with their language goals.

This is one of the most commonly requested professional learning topics–perfectly suited to a keynote, workshop, or year-long study through embedded professional development. Contact Mike to set up a time to talk.

Finally, you might also consider having faculty engage in an online course about this topic. Click here to learn more.