Recommended Readings on Educational Advocacy
Davidson Institute for Talent Development

This article by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development offers parents and educators recommended readings on the topic of educational advocacy, including articles and books. Parents and educators are encouraged to visit the state legislative database on the Genius Denied website to determine the services available in their state. A link to many state organizations is also included to aid in the advocacy process.

If you have already read the Educational Advocacy page, you are ready to explore educational advocacy in greater depth. A stop at the Gifted Education Policies database is essential for determining the services (or lack of services) available in your state. There also are numerous state organizations listed in the Davidson Database that may provide information and support. For more on the process of advocacy, we recommend the following readings.

Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School. Smutny, J.F. (2015). NAGC. This article provides parents with a wealth of advice on communicating with their gifted students' teachers.

Do we know if gifted children are being served appropriately? Delisle, J. (2003). Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted. This brief article addresses two important issues: What questions should parents ask when advocating for their children, and what is the value of pull-out programming? In addressing the first issue, Delisle provides a number of probing questions for the principal, the teacher and the student. Each will provide insight into the implementation and success of your child's educational programming.

Educational advocacy for gifted students. Osborn, J. (2001) Davidson Foundation.  An excellent place to start for parents beginning the advocacy process with their children. Osborn distills educational advocacy down to its essentials without diluting the message. The article is based on interviews with parents of 12 exceptionally gifted students who went through the process themselves. It includes the patterns of parental and institutional behavior for both successful and less-than-successful advocacy and a list of 14 specific suggestions from parents. Links to companion articles on assessment and issues in educating exceptionally gifted students are included.

Preparing for and holding an effective school meeting. LaBonte, K., Russell, C. & Russell, G. (1999). Highly Gifted Children: Hollingworth Center, Vol. 12, No. 4.
This article has a very detailed list of steps for tackling advocacy issues for your child. This article is geared for coping with situations that have become particularly challenging in that initial communications with teachers or administrators have not been very effective. The focus on overcoming resistance may be particularly helpful for those in difficult advocacy situations.

Six tips for communicating with your gifted child's teacher. Post, G. (2014) Gifted Challenges. This article provides parents insight on how to communicate with gifted students' teachers.

Supporting gifted education through advocacy. Berger, S. (1990). ERIC Digest #E494.
This article goes beyond many other articles by providing detailed information about the common pitfalls of educational advocacy. Berger also shares tips for establishing and maintaining an effective advocacy group. Paired with a good collection of resources, this information makes the article an important read for anyone involved in hands-on advocacy at any level.

Understanding tests and measurements for the parent and advocate. Wright, P.W.D., Wright, P.D. (2000). LD Online.
This article is perhaps the best primer available about testing and related concepts. It answers questions regarding what tests measure, what test scores mean and the statistics related to IQ and other test scores. This is a long and thorough article that provides a wealth of solid information to add to the knowledge base you need for dealing with school professionals.

Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children: A Parent's Complete Guide Gilman, B. (2008). Great Potential Press. In this revised edition to 1997's Empowering Gifted Minds: Educational Advocacy That Works, award-winning author Barbara Gilman walks parents and teachers through the process of documenting a child's abilities to providing reasonable educational options year by year. Learn about the problems and solutions for gifted students: Underachievement, Curriculum and Instruction, The Experience of Giftedness, and more.

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People: A Guidebook (PDF) Davidson Institute. This guidebook is designed for parents interested in addressing the needs of their exceptionally gifted children. It is to be used as an organizational tool and informational guide to building a strong foundation for parent advocacy efforts.

Developing Mathematical Talent: A Guide to Challenging and Educating Gifted Students in Math Assouline, S. & Lupkowski-Shoplik, A. (2011). Prufrock Press. This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide for challenging and educating mathematically talented students. Despite the focus on math, chapters on assessment and advocacy can be more broadly applied and contain a wealth of valuable information. The authors emphasize the utility of the Diagnostic Testing-Prescriptive Instruction (DT-PI) model as a five-step procedure to individually tailored instruction appropriate to a student's needs. Numerous case studies and relevant tips are included.

Gifted Children and Legal Issues: An Update Karnes, F. & Marquardt, R. (2000). Gifted Psychology Press. This library of legal information is valuable for parents and those working with gifted students. The authors guide educational advocates through the legal process as it relates to gifted education and provides a unique orientation to school policies and the processes of negotiation. Actual court cases are reviewed and implications are discussed. This is an important book for those who wish to investigate legal options in the context of gifted education.

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers Whitney, C.S. & Hirsch, G. (2011). Great Potential Press. This user-friendly guidebook educates parents and teachers about important gifted issues such as working with schools; evaluating classroom programs; forming parent support groups; choosing appropriate curriculum; meeting social and emotional needs; surviving the ups and downs; and more. The information and useful advice provided make this book an ideal resource both for those just starting out in the gifted field and those who are already seasoned veterans.

Re-Forming Gifted Education: Matching the Program to the Child Rogers, K. (2001). Great Potential Press. From her analysis of a full century of research, Rogers describes various characteristics of gifted children as well as options for school enrichment and acceleration. She reports the effectiveness of each option based on the research. Drawing on years of experience, Rogers shows parents and teachers practical ways to design ongoing programs that best meet the needs of bright children. Effective advocacy requires parents to be well-informed. This user-friendly guide is an essential text for those interested in understanding educational options for exceptionally bright young people.

Permission Statement

This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit

The appearance of any information in the Davidson Institute's Database does not imply an endorsement by, or any affiliation with, the Davidson Institute. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is solely the opinion of and the responsibility of the author. Although reasonable effort is made to present accurate information, the Davidson Institute makes no guarantees of any kind, including as to accuracy or completeness. Use of such information is at the sole risk of the reader.

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