What do APUSH teachers aim for in regards to reading done outside of the textbook, if used at all? I try to incorporate partial readings of at least one non fiction historical book per unit. Each selection supports one key part of each unit. Do others use these books? Anybody know of other works that would be more effective?
I love the idea of the team reading project. After reading, what do students do? Do they work together or separately on something?
During the AP Summer Institute, the book 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed History, produced by the History Channel (written by a historian) was suggested. One teacher uses it as his summer reading project where students have to journal about each chapter. I would use specific chapters in class to reinforce points left out by our textbook and have students create cause and effect chains because the chapters lead to that so well.
We also use lots of articles from different places, especially History Magazine.
When teaching APUSH, I feel that it is important to do non-textbook readings. Here are some of the books I've used with students. As you mentioned, sometimes I also use the whole book and sometimes just excerpts. Don't think that students have to read an entire book (of any kind) to get the meat of what you want them to learn.
I'd like to teach using some Erik Larson in the future. I know APUSH teachers have used his Devil in the White City as a text before. If you are looking for a strategy to use a book for discussion but not spend a ton of time reading it, consider the Book in an Hour strategy.