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7 Best Books for Teachers & Aspiring Educators For Summer Reading

Reading these seven best books for teachers and aspiring educators can help you either launch or elevate your career in the classroom.

Very few professions are more satisfying than helping young people grow and succeed. By pursuing a teaching career at various levels, you can find such a rewarding role in the classroom.

We recently asked several Saint Leo University education degree program faculty members to help us compile a list of the best books for teachers and aspiring educators to read this summer. Here are the titles they recommend adding to your reading list:

1. Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess

Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator is based on the author’s “Outrageous Teaching and Teach Like a PIRATE” seminars. The book draws on inspiration for current or aspiring teachers, practical teaching strategies, and unique ideas to develop a highly engaging classroom.

Reading this book will help you dramatically improve your passion for teaching, learn some incredibly engaging educational techniques your students will love, and create camaraderie and a bond among the students in your classes.

2. The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

In The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, Donalyn Miller shares her personal journey of becoming a reading teacher. She claims, by citing multiple examples, how she has never met a child whom she cannot turn into someone who enjoys reading. Miller gives readers an inside look into her sixth-grade classroom to explain her innovative approach to interacting with her students and how she goes about handling her instruction.

If you’re interested in becoming a reading teacher or have been teaching for years, you will find this book enjoyable and informative.

3. Teaching in the Flat World by Linda Darling-Hammond and Robert Rothman

Teaching in the Flat World: Learning from High-Performing Systems is considered more of a professional development title, but all readers can certainly benefit from it.

The text questions many of the traditional practices within education in the United States, such as high-stakes testing and other requirements that often leave certain students behind.

Instead, the two authors suggest that leaders within the American education system explore how education is handled in other countries in which students of all abilities and backgrounds tend to be given more opportunities to succeed academically.

In addition to several specific examples of how students are empowered in other countries, the book delves into ways in which educators can receive additional support and function more effectively in the classroom.

4. Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith

Widely considered the most famous fifth-grade teacher in the United States, Rafe Esquith’s Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 is an award-winning title perfect for current and aspiring teachers.

Esquith writes about how he has empowered disadvantaged kids, many of whom are immigrants, to become confident and thoughtful individuals. Not only does the book explore tips and tricks on the best ways to teach children academic concepts, but it also looks at developing good behaviors in youngsters.

5. The Essential 55 by Ron Clark

The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Students in Every Child is a great read on how teachers can effectively discipline their students based on the environment of the classroom.

Ron Clark, who was named a Disney Teacher of the Year, offers up 55 rules which he believes can help transform students into decent, respectful men and women. The main focus of the book is on teaching students basic rules of courtesy, communication, and other guidelines beyond academics.

Clark has taught many disadvantaged students in his teaching career. This is certainly a focus of the text; however, many of his proposed rules can apply to students across all populations and grade levels.

6. The Teacher's Guide to Self-Care by Sarah Forst

Want to know how to take care of yourself before entering the teaching profession? You should definitely read The Teacher's Guide to Self-Care: Build Resilience, Avoid Burnout, and Bring a Happier and Healthier You to the Classroom.

Considered a handy read for first-year teachers to those who have taught for decades, Forst gives readers lots of insightful and thought-provoking tips on how to care for one’s mental health and life balance when teaching. While this is an incredibly rewarding field, the numerous tasks teachers must tackle each day can become overwhelming at times. The good news is that there are simple things teachers can do to juggle everything and enjoy each day’s work with a smile.

7. Building Academic Vocabulary: Teacher's Manual by Debra Pickering and Robert Marzano

Building Academic Vocabulary: Teacher’s Manual explores a practical method to help students more easily and thoroughly learn vocabulary terms and concepts.

This manual provides a six-step approach for instruction in specific subject-area vocabulary, encouraging students to utilize linguistics to help them connect words to what they’ve learned in the past. It also includes examples of activities and games to help students better understand the terms and concepts they are studying. Finally, it contains a list of nearly 8,000 vocab terms compiled from a variety of sources organized into specific subject areas and by grade level.

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