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8 Amazing Teacher Books to Add to Your Reading List this Summer

Many of us love to count down to the end of the year and are certainly ready to say goodbye to the classroom on the last day. But if you’re anything like me, you like using some of your downtime in the summer with a few teacher books to slowly plan for next year.

I love grabbing professional development books (aka teacher books) and reading them at my leisure in the summer. In these months off, I find I can really dive into them and get inspired personally and professionally.

Here are several recommendations for you to spend some time with this summer!

8 teacher books for summer reading list

Teacher Books About Work-Life Balance & Organization

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

This book by James Clear is a must-read! It provides a detailed guide on how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviours that lead to remarkable results.

This book has provided some key principles to my personal life, but also to my teaching life. This is one of those teacher books that has helped me to build more of a work-life balance. I now understand the importance of habit-stacking, which helped me stop procrastinating! Seriously! It taught me how to manage my time better by being really thoughtful and mindful about my habits.

Grab your own copy of Atomic Habits here.

Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential by Tiago Forte

While this might not seem like it belongs on a list of typical teacher books, let me tell you this was a game-changer for me!

This book introduces a system for organizing and storing information digitally to enhance productivity and creativity, known as the “Second Brain.”

This text will help you learn how to manage digital information more effectively, streamline your workflow, and foster your creativity, which can enhance both your personal and professional life. 

My biggest takeaway was to start making note of everything, digitally. This has helped immensely with planning and grading (e.g., anecdotal notes). 

I used to save pins and Instagram stories to folders or have lots and lots of screenshots but when it came time to plan or find a new project, I’d never remember those amazing ideas or would feel too overwhelmed scrolling through it all. 

Building a Second Brain taught me to save these ideas in intentional notes/ways that put everything in one spot that makes it so easy to go back to.

Get yourself a copy of this book for summer reading.

examples of what you will learn reading these teacher book suggestions like work life balance, classroom management, teaching strategies

Classroom Management & Environment

The First 6 Weeks of School by Responsive Classroom

If you’re looking to revamp or adjust your plans for the first few weeks of school then this book is for you. It outlines a strategic approach to the beginning of the school year, emphasizing the importance of setting the right tone and establishing routines.

With this book, teachers will learn how to create a positive classroom environment from day 1. There are strategies for how to build strong relationships with students and to implement effective routines that set the stage for a successful year.

Find ideas to start your next school year here.

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School by Starr Sackstein

Do you know about the concept of upgrading or having a gradeless classroom? If not, then you’ll want to check out his book which provides practical strategies for implementing a feedback-focused assessment system in traditional schools.

While you might not be ready or able to go gradeless, there are still some great takeaways from this book. You will learn how to shift the focus from grades to student learning and growth. The focus is on understanding the benefits of formative assessment and discovering actionable steps to create a more student-centered learning environment. 

If you want a new take on grading, this is the teacher book for you!

Leadership and Personal Development

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown

You might be familiar with researcher and storyteller Brené Brown’s books and podcast that focus on developing a stronger self. In Dare to Lead, she delves into what it means to be, well, a daring leader. She emphasizes vulnerability, trust, and resilience as the key elements of strong leadership and she provides tools for leaders to foster courage and connection in their teams.

This is a great book choice for someone contemplating a future in admin but just as useful for any and all teachers, who can apply these lessons to their classrooms. 

While not specifically a book for teachers, this one still provides information about developing stronger relationships with colleagues and students. At its heart is working together to create a culture of openness and trust in school communities.  

Teachers spend so much time at school with a wide variety of people and personalities so this book can be a great way to start to move school culture no matter your position in the school.

If you don’t already have a copy of this Brené Brown book check it out.

teacher books to add to your reading list this summer examples of covers like atomic habits

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad

This choice of teacher books will help you to continue your work to promote equity and excellence in your classroom and school.

The comprehensive framework in this text demonstrates how to integrate culturally and historically responsive literacy practices into the classroom. And it’s backed by research collected and analyzed throughout the 20th century.

There are practical strategies for designing a curriculum that respects and reflects diverse cultural backgrounds. This is a book that walks you through a four-part equity framework with takeaways that can help you reframe or extend your literacy program. 

Enacting the framework from Muhammad’s book will enhance student engagement and achievement across all disciplines. It will certainly help in ELA, but it can also help in math, science, social studies, and more!

This book has some great lessons and key ideas you can implement in your upcoming classes; add it to the top of your teacher books stack!

Effective Teaching Strategies

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel

This book combines research from cognitive psychology to explain how learning actually happens and provides strategies to improve teaching and learning.

This is for you if you want more ideas for differentiating your lessons and activities for the students in your class!

Even before you read your students’ IEPs, you’ll discover evidence-based techniques for enhancing student retention and understanding, such as retrieval practice, spaced repetition, and interleaving (this is when you integrate the practice of one skill or topic with another one – the book does a great job of explaining this process!).

Take a look at these evidence-based ideas that are sure to help your next class of students.

The Reading Strategies Book 2.0: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Serravallo

This is a ‘classic’ resource that has been updated to offer a wide array of strategies to support reading development for students of all ages and skill levels.

In this book, you’ll find practical, research-based strategies to improve students’ reading skills, as well as specific instructional techniques tailored to a wide variety of reading challenges. This is one of those teacher books that I can keep coming back to!

If you don’t already have a copy of this one, check it out here.

And make sure to check out this companion book with writing strategies: The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers.

Whether you’re spending your summer reading teacher books or the latest Booktok suggestions (I have a few of these on my list too!), I hope the time away from the classroom is restful and regenerative!

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Want some more ideas for reading and professional development? Check out these posts:

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I’m Katarina and I teach elementary students in Toronto, Canada. I’m passionate about creating authentic learning experiences that students will love and remember. If you are looking to improve your classroom management and engage your students with easy-to-implement resources and tools, you’re in the right place!

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