9 Top Books for Teachers to Read This Summer

Summer is a great time to kick back, relax, and enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of the school year. It’s also the perfect time to start thinking about and planning ahead for the upcoming school year, as well as catch up on anything, whether personal or professional, that may have been neglected during the busyness of the academic year. One great thing to do over your summer break is to read. We all know that teachers are lifelong learners, and one of the best ways to keep learning is by reading. You can choose most professional development books or primarily fiction or non-fiction, or you can go back and forth between a variety of book genres. The important thing is just to read, read, read! Just like you expect your students to spend time reading each day throughout the summer, educators should create a summer reading list for teachers that they can refer to throughout the course of the break to get some quality reading done when they have some extra time. From inspirational to professional development to books about diversity in schools, here are our top 9 books for teachers to read this summer.


Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning from Static to Dynamic, by Kasey Bell

With the world changing so rapidly, particularly in the area of technology, schools, classrooms, and teachers are struggling to keep up. This book offers insight into those changes, as well as practical tips on embracing technology as an opportunity for growth. It goes through the why, what, and how of creating dynamic learning environments and meaningful lessons for students. Kasey Bell is both an educator and a blogger, and she provides ready-to-use templates for creating engaging lessons and powerful methods of implementing those plans so that students’ learning evolves and their love of learning increases throughout each school year.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink

Our entire lives are often centered around decisions of “when,” but we still don’t always understand when the timing is right and we’re forced to go with gut feelings and leaps of faith. Daniel Pink, however, explains in this book that timing and “when” is a science and that there truly are ideal times to do certain things. From small things like drinking a cup of coffee or taking a break from studying, to larger things like starting a business and getting married, Daniel Pink explains the science behind perfect timing to help readers thrive and succeed in their work, at school, and in life. Research from psychology, biology, and economics drive the information behind this book, but relatable stories and practical tips keep readers excited to learn something new with each turn of the page.

If You Can’t Manage Them, You Can’t Teach Them, by Kim Campbell

When it comes to professional development in the area of classroom management, this book is a treasure. While the book is primarily focused on middle school grades, the strategies and techniques can be applied to any grade level and students of any age. The book is straight-forward and honest, and it offers practical tips and advice on the best classroom management strategies and how to implement them flawlessly. It discusses the basics of building relationships with students, establishing routines, and setting expectations, all with the end goal of creating a stress-free and chaos-free classroom that is conducive to effective teaching and quality learning.

Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers, by Ruth Ayres

Author Ruth Ayres is a mother, a writer, and a teacher, and she weaves these three roles together to create an inspirational and practical book about the benefits of writing. With a focus on students who have experienced childhood trauma, this book explores brain research about how children deal with trauma and how telling their stories through writing can bring about powerful healing. Sharing stories from her own life of raising four adopted children, Ayres sheds light on the troubling circumstances that many children face and how teachers can foster their learning and personal growth through those troubling situations. The final part of this book offers practical advice for teachers to entice all writers, regardless of their personal circumstances. The entire book will be both an inspiration and a useful tool for teachers who are committed to never giving up on a student and who truly believe that all students can have a positive impact on the world around them.

What Works in Schools, by Robert Marzano

If you didn’t already read this book during your time in college, add it to your summer reading list for teachers right away. It’s commonly used in college classrooms to discuss the decades of research we have on effective schooling, and it is a must-read for any and all teachers. Marzano utilizes the research about what works in the classroom regarding effective instruction and quality classroom management, as well as how those play into the world of high-stakes testing that is currently overwhelming in education. Not only does this book present the research about effective instruction in schools, but it also offers practical strategies for implementation.

Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms, by Sonia Nieto

This book is both inspirational and informative, making it one of the best books for teachers and a must-have on your summer reading list. With more diversity in our classrooms than ever before, including in language, race, culture, and socioeconomic status, the need for diversity-sensitive teachers is greater than it’s ever been. Nieto interviewed over 20 teachers from a variety of backgrounds and school settings to explore the idea of culturally responsive and socially just teaching practices, particularly in regards to diversity in schools, and her findings and thoughts are all captured in this incredible book. She discusses social justice, moral dimensions, and student advocacy, all through the lens of education and finding joy in teaching those from diverse backgrounds.

Inquiry Mindset: Nurturing the Dreams, Wonders, and Curiosities of Our Youngest Learners, by Trevor MacKenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt

Young learners are already curious about almost everything, and they learn so much through playing and exploring on their own. This book is all about fostering that natural curiosity and encouraging students of all ages to inquire about everything in their world. It focuses on how to empower your students and increase their engagement in the classroom, all with the end goal of creating lifelong learners who achieve what they set out to. This book not only encourages teachers to foster this inquiry mindset in their students, but it also helps them to adopt the same mindset in themselves, which only furthers their own love of learning and teaching.

Working with Parents: Building Relationships for Student Success, by Ruby Payne

This book is short, sweet, and to the point. It focuses on building relationships with the parents of your students so that you can work together to set up the students for success. Dr. Payne has been in education since 1972 and has made a large impact on educators with her guides to teaching students from poverty. She discusses the most common “types” of parents and how to relate to and build rapport with each, and she focuses a good bit on cultural differences and how to be culturally responsive in a respectful way when interacting with parents.

Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom, by Amy Burvall and Dan Ryder

Most teachers know that creative and engaging lessons in the classroom are the most effective ways to teach and instruct students. However, finding that creativity and applying it to lessons can be quite challenging. Both authors of this book have been described as treasures to the community of educators, and they combine inspirational narrative with a catalog of activities to bring intentionality and creativity to your classroom. This book will invoke an excitement in teachers everywhere as they learn about integrating innovation and imagination into lessons, critical thinking skills and their relevant application to classroom instruction, and endless ideas for enrichment, engagement, and exploration in the classroom and beyond.

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