A few weeks ago, Share My Lesson published a PreK-12 Guide to Summer Reading Lists to help recommend great books for your students to read over the summer. This time though, the list is just for us—teachers, paraprofessionals and anyone else looking to do some worthwhile education-related reading this summer. We’d love to hear from you about books for teachers you recommend, and we promise to share more of our favorites in time for the new school year.
Best General List for Professional Development
The ASCD Books
“The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching and leading. Comprising 115,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers and advocates from more than 128 countries—the ASCD community also includes 51 affiliate organizations.”
ASCD has an enormous list of books on its website, including 19 education topics to choose from. Click on a title and a new page appears with a description of the book, book cover image, information about the authors, and for many titles a peek inside. We highly recommend this list if you are looking for powerful professional development in a wide range of areas.
Also, if you’re looking for an authentic and enjoyable read about differentiation (aren’t we all?), check out The Flexible ELA Classroom from up-and-coming author Amber Chandler, NBCT. I’d describe her work as refreshing, wise and full of energy. As soon as I started reading, my inner “have you actually been a teacher in a classroom?” thoughts subsided as she shared some very honest experiences I immediately connected with.
Here are a few favorite lines that cracked me up and validated her teacher cred:
I wanted my classroom to be a place where everyone was free to express themselves as we talked about Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau. I didn’t stand in front of the room or sit at my teacher’s desk. Instead, I sat with my students in a circle.
Spoiler alert: You’ve probably already figured out that I was going to need more than an interesting personality and love for literature to impress middle school students, much less teach them ELA.
I didn’t know then, and it took me a few years, but I was about to learn the difference between teaching content and teaching students.
Teaching is such a journey, and it’s never more fun or inspiring then when you share it with other like-minded educators. On that note, our next list comes from two English teachers who’ve found that connection by teaming up to share their experiences from the classroom.
Our Favorite List from Teachers (who are still in the classroom)
Kindred Spirits Blog "Great Reading Lists are Sparked by Kindred Spirits"
Our fantastic teacher duo, Tricia Baldes and Jess Burnquist, are the authors behind our popular blog series, Kindred Spirits. To help spark great summer reading, they’ve put together a list with their own review, including titles “on deck”, books to revisit or reread, books they’re waiting for and books they hope their students will check out this summer. You won’t want to miss out on these recommendations from this human rights-loving English teacher team. And think about following their blog regularly—we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Best List for Social Justice Education books
If you are a social justice-loving educator, we promise you are going to be excited when you see this next list. Social Justice Books has more than 50 carefully selected lists of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults and some specifically to help educators develop their practice. Just under the topic of education, they have nine subtopics (see below), and the books include both classics like Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire and newer favorites like Innovative Voices in Education: Engaging Diverse Communities by Eileen Gale Kugler (editor). I’ve read both and believe they are required reading for social justice education leaders.
Each book links to a page that provides more details, including the book cover image, author, synopsis and more.
Best Lists for Social Studies Teachers
As a former social studies teacher, I was thrilled to see that the National Council for the Social Studies, in partnership with the Children’s Book Council, has an annual list of recommended books for students. If you’re like me, you spend some time over the summer reading new books you’re thinking about incorporating into your curriculum. I didn’t always know where to start, and I wish I had known about this list when I was teaching. The NCSS describes its annual list as follows:
The selection committee looks for books that emphasize human relations, represent a diversity of groups and are sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences, present an original theme or a fresh slant on a traditional topic, are easily readable and of high literary quality, and have a pleasing format and, when appropriate, illustrations that enrich the text. Each book is read by several reviewers, and books are included on the list by committee assent; annotations do not necessarily reflect the judgment of the entire committee.
In other words, it’s a thorough list. What made me extra excited was that each book has a note about which NCSS thematic social studies strand it aligns to (see below). The one downside is that the 2017 list is not available to everyone yet; only members can access it now. However, NCSS has been making this list since 1972 and all the previous ones are available for free.
Best for Science Teachers
Cool enough to be a science teacher? I’ve got a book list just for you. In cooperation with the Children’s Book Council, titles are chosen by a National Science Teachers Association-appointed panel. The annual K-8 list has been around for 44 years and has included high school-level books since 2002. All the lists are free and include the book cover, author(s), illustrators, publisher and a concise description. We also love the NSTA recommends tool, which allows you to quickly search the NSTA database for recommended books and other texts.
For a timely summer science topic—sharks!—we suggest checking out Shark Lady by Jess Keating. It is Amazon’s Editors Pick for June and comes highly recommended from our favorite shark lady/marine biologist/educator Melissa C. Márquez.
Recommended for Great Summer Reading
We know that it’s always all about the kids, but during the summer it’s important to get a little “you” time in as well. For those of you who love to read for pleasure, we recommend the lists below to find the perfect book to enjoy while you rest, relax and re-energize over the break.