7 Great Educational Summer Reads for Teachers

(Photo Credit © Milkos via iStock)

Summer reading lists can represent pleasure or added burden to your life, depending on who creates them and whether the choices are optional or mandatory. You’ve certainly created them for your students, hoping to strike the right mix of classic and contemporary that offers something for everyone. But have you done the same for yourself? Have you created a summer reading list for yourself, made up of educational books and authors that you’ve been dying to read?

If not, no problem; there are plenty of fabulous lists out there, created by passionate educators, administrators, and coaches. Here are a few suggestions from education web sites; browse through them and build your own bucket list for the rest of the summer.

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From Organized Classroom:

Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator, by Dave Burgess ($29.95 hardback, $21.51 paperback, $12.99 audiobook, $9.97 Kindle). The top vote-getter in Organized Classroom’s 2018 poll, Teach Like a Pirate emphasizes Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask & Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm, the first letters of which spell PIRATE. Burgess introduces “hooks” he recommends to draw students into lessons, such as “mystery bag hook,” “safari hook,” and “people props hook;” the latter, for instance, suggests illustrating vocabulary terms by positioning students like mannequins. “It’s about showing us something that works,” says Ditch That Textbook blogger Matt Miller. “And it’s about showing us an enormously important aspect of education that sometimes gets lost in the pedagogy and tech tools and legislation — the value of tying excitement to teaching.”

From the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

Becoming the Educator They Need: Strategies, Mindsets, and Beliefs for Supporting Male Black and Latino Students, by Robert Jackson ($24.95, paperback, $19.95 for ASCD members). Jackson’s “No More Excuses” curriculum is a national education phenomenon; he is a popular speaker and recognized expert on teaching cultural diversity in general and Black and Hispanic males specifically. In Becoming the Educator They Need, Jackson shares five core beliefs, six core values, and 11 characteristics of healthy relationships that will help teachers connect with these students. “While all students in your class, building, or school district need your support, the Black and Latino male students—the most under-served, suspended, and expelled students in education—need you to understand them as you support them so that they can thrive academically,” says the ASCD website.

From Scholastic:

The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing, by Ruth Culham ($38.37, paperback) How do you learn to write well if you’ve never done it before? Ruth Culham is dedicated to this mission, and has written a dozen books in its pursuit. The Writing Thief teaches by encouraging students to use “mentor texts,” examples of good writing that they can question, dissect, mimic, and think about as they work on their own assignments. “Do you have a classroom library?” Culham asks. “Do you have access to the public library and the Internet? Consider using these books and materials as mentor texts for teaching writing, right along with what they bring to reading instruction. They should become co-teachers in your classroom and an infinite source of inspiration for lessons and activities that model the very best writing.”

From Book Authority:

The Google-Infused Classroom: A Guidebook to Making Thinking Visible and Amplifying Student Voice, by Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith ($19.99, paperback; $12.99, Kindle). If you’re a little shy on technology expertise but you realize that it would give you an advantage in the classroom, The Google-Infused Classroom will give you a leg up (and it gets 5 stars 91 percent of the time on Amazon). Google itself has more tools than most people can keep track of; the book explores many of those tools for educators, linking them to classroom-instruction methods. “As disruptive, transliterate educators, we must learn how to speak social media and understand what it means to be connected learners so we can guide our students,” the book says. “We must know and understand these new forms of information – how to use them correctly, what their nuances are, and how they are shaping our world.”

From Education Week:

Leading Collaborative Learning: Empowering Excellence, by Lyn D. Sharratt and Beate M. Planche ($25.87, paperback; $18.12, Kindle). Collaborative learning and inquiry involves groups of students working together to solve problems. Sharratt and Planche cite research – both their own and others’ – that shows the results this method can have. “Desired educational outcomes have shifted from the traditional model of memorizing knowledge that has been ‘poured in’ to the new model of gaining skills and knowledge by learning how to learn and work together,” they write. “The new model creates highly literate secondary school graduates, which includes the development of strong skills in critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, to become independent, self-regulatory earners.”

From The Applicious Teacher:

The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers, by Jennifer Serravallo ($29.08, paperback). Called the “Teaching Reading Bible” by some teachers, chapter titles in  The Reading Strategies Book give a pleasant peek as to what’s in store for your students: “Word Treasure Hunt,” “Act it to Storytell it,” “What I See/What I Think,” “Make Your Voice Match the Feeling,” and “Tenses as a Clue to Flashback and Backstory.”  The book is organized by Serravallo’s “13 goals,” which are divided into comprehension (including engagement and fluency), fiction (including plot, character, and themes), and nonfiction areas (including main ideas, key details and vocabulary).

From Education Closet:

Fewer Things, Better: The Courage to Focus on What Matters Most, by Angela Watson ($22.49, paperback; $12.99, audiobook; $9.99, Kindle). “Angela has been tirelessly working for years to help teachers maximize their time and minimize their stress,” says the Education Closet web site. “This new book is exactly what teachers need: a way to focus on the things that matter and let go of the stuff that doesn’t.” So, what does that mean exactly? Fewer Things, Better – which averages 4.8 out of 5 stars in customer reviews on Amazon – challenges the outside expectations we internalize and allow to dictate our values and emotions about how we spend our time, and exchanges those expectations with new internal beliefs, such as “I am worthy of better, and change is possible for me right now.” If you find yourself living in a world of “should’s” and “have-to’s,” this is the book for you.

Summer reading can be joyful, educational, and helpful, in your classroom and in your personal life. It can also earn you continuing education or professional development credits, by enrolling in a professional reading course at DominicanCAOnline. There are quite a few to choose from: EDUO 9000: Reflective Reading; EDUO 9770, Authentic vs. Incentive Motivation; EDUO 9775, Change – Your Choice; and EDUO 9778, Discovering the Adventure of Your Life’s Journey; these are just a handful of available courses, and each offers one graduate-level credit. The University also offers EDUO 9021-9025, Teachers’ Book Study Club, in which you and a group of  peer teachers select a book to read, analyze, research, collaborate online in posts or face-to-face, and write a response in summary. The course is offered sequentially for those wishing to read different books from the instructor’s very deep list.

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