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May 25, 2023

Best Books for Teachers to Add to Your Summer Reading List

This article was originally published by our partners at iteach, a part of our parent company K12 Coalition, on July 2, 2022.

Summer is a great time to relax and catch up on all of the things you haven’t had the time to accomplish during the school year. That may mean catching up on sleep, catching up with friends, or catching up on your reading list. When you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, it’s a great opportunity to pick up a good book. So go ahead. Find a sunny spot by the pool or curl up in a quiet corner. We’ve compiled a list of the best books for teachers to read during summer break.

Best Books for Teachers to Enhance Their Career Skills

Teach Like a PIRATE:

Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator
by Dave Burgess

This quick easy read will become a reference manual that you’ll keep close by. It is full of practical classroom concepts and inspirational ideas to boost your creativity. You’ll find 30 hooks to captivate and engage your students. It also has 170 brainstorming questions to get you thinking outside the box.

The Google Infused Classroom:

A Guidebook to Making Thinking Visible and Amplifying Student Voice 
by Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith

For today’s teacher immersed in a world of technology, this book is a must read! This book will teach you how to use powerful technology tools to enhance your teaching and transform your classroom. It is versatile enough to be read page by page or to use to look up information as needed.

Motivating Students who Don’t Care

Proven Strategies to Engage All Learners
By Allen N. Mendler

One of the most challenging and rewarding things about being a teacher is helping a student see their own potential. But how do you motivate those who don’t want to be there? This book provides tips on how to engage those students and instill a love for learning. It will guide teachers through helping students overcome hurdles that students who lack motivation often face. The three main challenges the book addresses are fear of failure, need for control, and boredom.

Take Control of the Noisy Class: Chaos to Calm in 15 Seconds

(Super-effective classroom management strategies for teachers in today’s toughest classrooms)
By Rob Plevin

While that subtitle may sound too good to be true, this book definitely delivers! It contains a plethora of practical techniques that you can immediately start incorporating into your next class period. Teacher trainer and author, Rob Plevin takes readers through a simple six step process on dealing with problem behavior. He addresses how to gain respect and eliminate power struggles. There is even a Take Control of the Noisy Class workbook to go along with this book for teachers who really want to apply what they are learning.

Beach Reads: The Best Books for Teachers Who Need a Mental Getaway

Big Summer

by Jennifer Weiner

Humor and fun encompass this story that highlights the complexities and importance of friendship. It follows the relationship of best friends Drue and Daphne, who have a falling out that ends their friendship. That is…until Drue returns years later with a shocking request for Daphne. We’ll leave you hanging in suspense right there.

Yes, Please

by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler…need we say more? If you are looking for a laugh and a get real about life kind of memoir, this is the book. Not only is this book as funny as the queen of comedy herself, it is also a hopeful and inspirational story filled with valuable life lessons.

Academy X

by Andrew Trees

This hilarious novel about a struggling English teacher gives a glimpse into the New York City private school sector that is both eye opening and relatable. Drama, competition, and constant controversy follow the characters throughout the halls of Academy X.

Best Books for Self-Improvement and Soul Care

Brave Enough

by Cheryl Strayed

This little book of beautiful quotes comes from Cheryl Strayed, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Wild. This is a gem you will want to keep on your desk within arm’s reach when you need a little encouragement and inspiration. Daily doses of wisdom like, “Ask yourself: What is the best I can do? And then do that,” will give you fuel to get through tough days.

This Year I Will…

A 52-Week Guided Journal to Achieve Your Goals (A Year of Reflections Journal)
by Tiffany Louise LCSW

This guided journal is a wonderful tool to help you find yourself and crush your goals. And bonus, it is beautifully designed with pages of colorful space to jot down your thoughts. It was created by Tiffany Louise, who is a professional coach specializing in cognitive and behavioral change. This journal will inspire you to set goals, track progress, and reflect on how far you’ve come.

Best Books for Teachers to Keep in the Classroom

Kindergarten – 3rd grade

Exclamation Mark
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This 56-page illustrated book packs a punch for early readers with humor, grammar, and self-discovery all rolled into one. It’s the story of a misplaced exclamation mark who tries very hard to fit in. Eventually, he discovers what makes him unique is more exciting than he ever imagined.

4th-5th grade

by Gary Paulsen

If your students are looking for some adventure and excitement, hand them a copy of Gary Paulsen’s book, Hatchet. This quick read with poetic undertones is riveting from beginning to end. Hatchet opens with the story of a 13-year-old boy who must land a plane after his pilot suffers a heart attack. For the remainder of the book, he faces the challenges of surviving alone in the wilderness with only a hatchet.

Middle School

The Amazing Story Generator
by Jay Sacher

This book is an endless playground of possibilities for English teachers. The pages are split into three sections that you can flip to mix and match outlandish and fun story prompts. Find a random setting, character, and plot. Put them together and watch your students’ creativity start flowing.

High School

Shoe Dog (Young Readers Edition)
A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight

This is a fascinating autobiography for the teenage athlete about how a beloved brand was born. It will encourage goal setting and leave gold nuggets of inspiration for future entrepreneurs.

High School – College

The Sketchnote Handbook
by Mike Rohde

Encourage better learning retention by teaching students how to incorporate drawing into notetaking. Sketchnotes are a method of notetaking that uses writing, doodles, shapes and other elements to highlight what is most important. This book is a step by step guide on how to do it, and Rhode ensures us that you don’t need to be an artist to use sketchnotes. This reference book will make taking notes more fun and engaging for students.

If you’d like to learn more about Sketchnotes, the author teaches a very thorough mini workshop in this video:

About iteach

iteach is a competency-based educator preparation program helping to fill the void the nation faces with the unprecedented teacher shortage. iteach enables paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, and others seeking to become teachers to get the affordable, time-saving education they need to become licensed. Their program combines the convenience of online learning with a full year of face-to-face mentorship during a teaching residency. Notably, iteach is the only non-university educator preparation program to achieve accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


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