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The Best Summer Reading Books for Teachers

The temperature is rising and end-of-year testing is in progress, and that can only mean one thing: summer is right around the corner. At EdIncites, we support and encourage educators to relax and unwind as much as possible over the summer, but if you are looking to get some summer reading under your belt, we have some suggestions for the best books for teachers. A special thanks to the educators who helped us compile this list during our Teacher Appreciation Week Facebook event.

For the First Year Teacher

Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year by Esme Raji Codell
If you are a 2021 graduate or are about to embark on your teaching journey, we have two recommendations for first year teachers. Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year was recommended by Meghan Mauk. It’s written by Esme Raji Codell and is a diary of the author’s experience as a Chicago inner-city school teacher.

Your First Year by Todd Whitaker
Your First Year: How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher is chock full of tips and tricks for making your first year of teaching a success. Written by internationally-acclaimed educator Todd Whitaker, in partnership with his two daughters, both teachers themselves, this book is a family affair and staple for all teachers.

For the Online Teacher

The Perfect Blend by Michele Eaton
The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide for Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences is a good reminder that students should be at the heart of the classroom, even when it’s a digital classroom. One Amazon reviewer remarked, “As a teacher and technology leader in my district this book is invaluable as we move towards a COVID 2020-21 academic year. This is a must have book for all district and EdTech leaders. I have already started to create trainings based on ideas and resources she has provided from other districts and model educators. I refer back to this book throughout the year and will be using it as a main resource to help my school, students, parents, and district get through this very difficult time in education.” Even as many districts resume in-person learning, we think this book will be critical as schools explore how K12 education will look in a post-pandemic world.

For the Music Teacher

Teaching Music with Passion: Conducting, Rehearsing and Inspiring by Peter Boonshaft
This recommendation came from Heather Taylor, Band Teacher at Lakeshore Elementary in NY. “I love any books written by Peter Boonshaft! He writes books specifically for music teachers, one of my favorites being Teaching Music with Passion. I’ve read his books in college and for book studies for music collegial circles.”

For the Teacher who Infuses Comedy into the Classroom

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
We like this off-cuff pick from Illinois-based teacher Lauren Forbes. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art explores aspects of comics, its historical development, fundamental vocabulary and various ways the elements have been used. Written in comic book form, it’s a quick, fun read. For teachers, it provokes thoughts around communication, imagery, relationships and humor.

For the Teacher Wanting to Inspire Change

What School Could be: Insights and Inspiration From Teachers Across America by Ted Dintersmith
Ted DIntersmith’s What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America is “an inspiring account of teachers in ordinary circumstances doing extraordinary things, showing us what leads to powerful learning in classrooms, and how to empower our teachers to make it happen.” This book was recommended by Amy Erb, an educator who really does show us how incredible schools can be. The K-5 STEM teacher enlisted the help of Will Arnett, actor and host of LEGO masters, to create a LEGO building challenge for her students during online learning.

The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark
The Ron Clark Academy “is a model school with a vision to transform classrooms around the world by demonstrating transformative methods and techniques that are embraced and replicated everywhere.” NC-based middle school teacher Heather Dalton had the opportunity to attend trainings at the school and recommended any read by the school’s founder Ron Clark. The End of Molasses Classes is a New York Times Bestseller that offers tips and best practices for uplifting, educating and empowering children.

For the Reading Teacher

The Reading Strategies Book by Jen Serravallo
Georgia-based elementary school teacher Candice Davies recommends The Reading Strategies Book to fellow elementary teachers. The book, authored by Jen Serravallo, outlines over 300 strategies to develop skilled readers from goal-setting and guided prompts to individualized instruction. For teachers who are helping students with writing, we also suggest her Writing Strategies Book.

For the Teacher Building Trust

Talk to Me by Kim Bearden
The aforementioned Ron Clark Academy is co-founded by Kim Bearden, who was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2016. She has written two bestselling books, her most recent being Talk to Me: Find the Right Words to Inspire, Encourage and Get Things Done. In this book, Bearden outlines six principles of effective communication for teachers, administrators, parents and even business professionals. “Talk to Me equips you to use your words to show others that you care,” and we can’t think of a better skill to have than that.

While these are our top picks for 2021, there’s no shortage of excellent books for educators. Whether you choose one of these, a novel or other leisure-read, we think all summer reading books are best enjoyed by a body of water and with a cold beverage in hand! Teachers, let us know what’s on your summer reading list!