February 3, 2023

Executive Function Book Club: Books to Support Parents’ and Students’ Understanding of Executive Function Strategies

By Jess Holman, Instructor

At Engaging Minds, we honor that there are no one-size fits all executive function solutions for students and families. We have developed an approach and methodology that is personalized and tailored to meet each student and family where they are. Our specially trained instructors employ best-practices in one-on-one tutoring sessions with students online and in-person, and recalibrate students’ approach to the learning process. We empower students with the resources, skills, and strategies to identify their challenges, explore solutions, and build on their strengths.

We have identified valuable resources to support your family’s learning journey. The list below includes books both for parents to deepen their knowledge of executive function skills, tools, and resources, as well as books written directly to and for children of various ages. This is by no means a complete list, but includes a range of intended readers and formats for you to explore further.

Happy learning!

Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning
Authors: Joyce Cooper-Kahn, PhD and Laurie Dietzel, PhD
Intended audience: Parents/educators
Late, Lost, and Unprepared is written by two clinical psychologists and aims to help children manage their short-term tasks and increase their capacity to independently problem solve. This book is particularly useful for parents of children who struggle with impulse control, cognitive flexibility, initiation of tasks, working memory, planning and organizing, and self-monitoring. With short chapters, bulleted lists and many practical tips, it’s a very accessible read.

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to helping Kids Reach their Full Potential
Authors: Peg Dawson, EdD and Richard Guare, PhD
Intended audience: Parents/educators
Smart but Scattered acknowledges that it is difficult for parents to see their brilliant children struggle to complete everyday tasks and manage difficult emotions. The authors, two psychologists, share numerous activities and techniques that help to identify your child’s strengths and challenges and build executive skills.

Executive Function in Education: From Theory to Practice (2nd Edition)
Edited by Lynn Meltzer
Intended audience: Parents/educators
The revised version of Executive Function in Education is a great resource for parents who want a more in-depth theoretical understanding of executive function processes. Bringing together education, neuroscience, and psychology, this text presents a scholarly approach to supporting your child’s growth and development. Edited by a well-known scholar in the field, several of the authors listed in this blog post contributed to the text.

The Executive Functioning Workbook for Kids: 40 Fun Activities to Build Memory, Flexible Thinking, and Self Control Skills at Home, In School, and Beyond
Author: Sharon Grant, Phd BCW
Intended Audience: Kids ages 6-9
This workbook, written by a licensed psychologist, can be completed independently by kids and is designed to help them see their growth and development through sequential activities. With over 40 activities for kids and a section of tools for parents, this workbook is meant to engage parents in the process but allow kids the opportunity to reflect on their own strengths and challenges.

The Executive Function Workbook for Kids: A Fun Adventure with Bora the Space Cat to Learn How to Plan, Prioritize, and Set Goals in Everyday Life
Author: Roy D. Pan Ph.D.
Intended Audience: Kids ages 9-12
This workbook is the most-recently-published suggestion on this list and is the first ever storyline executive function workbook. While the other suggested workbooks may be great for kids with intrinsic motivation to improve their executive functioning skills, this workbook is best suited for children who may struggle with a more-traditional text. While completing this workbook, children get to plan and prioritize to help characters solve their problems in space.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Author: Sean Covey
Intended audience: Teens ages 13-19
With over 3 million copies sold, this book intends to give teens a step-by-step guide to reaching their goals, identifying their dreams, and creating the necessary plans. Written in a readable fashion (complete with cartoons, stories and quotes), the book aims to help teens move from surviving to thriving by improving their self-image, building friendships, resisting peer pressure, appreciating their parents, and achieving their goals.

Focus and Thrive: Executive Functioning Strategies for Teens
Author: Laurie Chaiking McNulty LCSW-C
Intended audience: Teens ages 13-17
For teens who have a hard time managing their daily lives, this book, written by a clinical social worker, provides practical tools to stay focused, get organized, make plans, and manage time. This book is a great resource for students who like step-by-step structure and simple “life hacks” rather than in-depth reflective assessments.

The Executive Functioning Workbook for Teens: Help for Unprepared, Late, and Scattered Teens
Author: Sharon A. Hansen, MSE, NBCT
Intended audience: Teens ages 13-19
Written by a licensed school counselor, this workbook is evidence-based and employs a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to executive functioning disorders. The workbook is designed for teens to get organized, retain information, communicate effectively, and perform better in their academic and personal pursuits.


To learn more about our Executive Function Coaching, contact us by phone (617)964-3100 or email

About Engaging Minds:

Engaging Minds is a leading executive functioning coaching organization that offers personalized, one-on-one tutoring services for students in grades 4-College. Engaging Minds provides students with learning skills and strategies to become motivated, independent, and confident learners. Drawing from a methodology designed to enhance academic engagement, strengthen executive function and learning skills, and provide content support, Engaging Minds instructors develop individualized learning programs that meet the needs of each student to improve their executive functioning skills and overall learning experience including: organization of materials, organization of ideas, planning & time management, initiating tasks, flexibility and transitions, motivation & self-confidence, working memory and self-monitoring and follow-through. Engaging Minds’ experienced instructors help students manage nightly homework, long-term assignments, and unlock their full potential. With a learning center in Newton, Massachusetts, and a team of highly trained educational executive functioning coaches nationwide working virtually with students, Engaging Minds provides tailored support to meet the diverse needs of students – both in person and online. Engaging Minds’ mission is to provide Tools for Learning and Skills for Life™, empowering students to succeed academically and beyond. To learn more about Engaging Minds, visit