The 10 best summer reads for teachers

10 best summer reads for teachersIf you’re an avid reader, I’m sure you’re looking forward to summer and having more free time to relax with some good books…preferably by a pool or on a beach or in a hammock. You’ve probably got some good easy, fun reads you’ve been meaning to get to for awhile. And maybe you’re also looking for a book that will challenge you to think about the way you taught last year, and what kind of changes you want to make so that next year is even better.

It’s rare that teachers get the opportunity to step back from the day to day tasks of the classroom and really reflect on the educational system as a whole and the role that we play in it. Here are 10 of my favorite books to help you do just that, and get you excited about improving your practice and connecting with students on a deeper level. Click any book cover for more info:

Ditch That Textbook

I'll be checking out Matt Miller's brand new release out myself this summer!

The Passion-Driven Classroom

I couldn't read this book at night because it got me so excited about teaching and planning activities that I couldn't sleep! Seriously inspiring.

Why Don't Students Like School?

A great read about the disconnect between traditional schooling methods and the way students learn.

Learn Like a Pirate

Paul Solarz' new book has some excellent ideas for getting you excited about teaching and getting kids excited about learning.

Stop Stealing Dreams

Author Seth Godin has made this eBook available for free. I found it interesting to read about education from the perspective of an "outsider" wants to help students and teachers become more passionate about what they do. Click to read my review and download the eBook.


If you're tired of testing your students to death instead of teaching reading authentically, this book will get you fired up about practical ways you can combat the system.

The Book Whisperer

This book will get you so excited about inspiring a love of reading in your students!

Rethinking Homework

A highly readable yet research-based book that will help you revamp your homework policies to make the work more meaningful for kids and easier for you to manage. Click to read my full review.

When Teaching Gets Tough

Great tips for preventing burnout: you can read my full review by clicking the book.

The Courage to Teach

I read this book years ago and it still has an impact on the way I view myself and my work. A great way to reconnect with yourself and your passion for teaching.

Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day...No Matter What

Bonus--#11 is a book I'm a little biased about. :) But I truly believe that "Unshakeable" is one of the best books out there for invigorating and empowering you for the school year ahead.

Join us for anĀ online book club for teachers in July!

Join us for the Unshakeable summer book club! We'll be discussing how to enjoy teaching no matter what, sharing 20 ways in 20 days. The discussion is all happening in a fun, private Facebook group where you can connect with inspiring educators, post questions, and get yourself energized for the new school year.

Will you be doing any professional reading this summer? Share your book list in the comments!

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Angela is a National Board Certified Teacher with 11 years of classroom experience and 7 years experience as an instructional coach. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has created printable curriculum resources, 4 books, 3 online courses, the Truth for Teachers podcast, and The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Subscribe via email to get her best content sent to your inbox!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meaghan @Tale of Two Teachers June 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Great list! I absolutely love Parker Palmer’s “The Courage to Teach” so inspirational!

Right now I’m reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” and it has been so enlightening – I highly recommend it and I’m only 2 chapters in :)


2 Raye June 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I LOVED Readicide! So true and should be required reading by all “powers that be!”

I am reading Word Nerds, Whole Brain Teaching and Total Participation Techniques this summer. Otherwise, I’m all about smut reading lol


3 Learning Girl June 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Thanks! Putting in some library reserves!


4 Karen June 3, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Some great reads there. I read Rethinking Homework a few years ago. While several on my staff agreed with what was said they were not willing to implement some of the strategies which was a true bummer. I’ve implemented several over the years.


5 Terri Izatt June 4, 2013 at 2:05 am

I am excited about reading Book Whisperer and Teach Like a Pirate this summer. I am taking part in two book studies. It should be lots of fun!


6 Jennifer O. June 2, 2015 at 12:14 am

I read Book Whisperer last year and her second book, Reading in the Wild, this year. You will love it! They changed my perspective of independent reading and encouraging students to be life-long readers.


7 @8amber8 June 4, 2013 at 11:03 am

Great suggestions, Ang! I can’t wait to read!


8 Shree June 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Currently reading Drive by Daniel H Pink… Interesting to see it in the summer reading list :) Will check other titles too…


9 Karli June 4, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I’ve already ordered Talk About Understanding: Rethinking Classroom Talk to Enhance Comprehension by Ellin Oliver Keene, but I’m sure I’ll add a couple of these titles to my list :) Is there ever enough time to read everything we want?!?


10 Barb June 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Is there an available resource to find these and other professional books to borrow instead of purchase? My school has a small professional library – but nothing new in a few years.


11 Diane June 9, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Also try asking about an inter-library loan in your school or local public library. Many libraries do them now for free or a very small fee. My local library used to do it for free but now charges $1 per book–still a great deal. As a last resort, you can buy the book and re-sell it on eBay, Amazon, etc. if you decide not to keep it.


12 Angela Watson July 17, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Good ideas!


13 Angela Watson June 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Thanks, all, for sharing your favorites! Keep them coming!

@Raye: You’re going to love Total Participation Techniques!

@Barb: Have you checked your public library? I’ve found quite a few professional titles in mine! You can also try getting the Kindle edition of the books–those are much cheaper than getting paper copies. You can read Kindle books on pretty much any device (your smartphone, your computer, tablet, etc.) so it’s a good way to get cheap books even if you don’t own a Kindle.


14 DrMcDougall June 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Read each of these – finishing Teach Like a Pirate and then I’ll read the last, Readicide – and I can’t recommend them highly enough. As a teacher of 30 years, I feel it’s our responsibility to keep learning and always strive to improve our students potential for success – thank you!


15 Amy Sandvold June 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Thank you thank you for including The Passion-Driven Classroom! You totally made my day and I hope some more people take the time to read it this summer! Thank you for spreading the word!


16 Valerie June 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm

These look great. Any way that I can get the list in a format that can be printed out? I would like to post it in our teachers’ room to see if I can get some summer reading groups going.




17 Anne June 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Books for Suggested Summer Reading Book Club:

The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching & Learning by Angela Maiers (Author), Amy Sandvold (Author)
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink (Author)
Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham (Author)
The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller (Author), Jeff Anderson (Foreword)
Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess (Author)
Stop Stealing Dreams: Free eBook from Seth Godin
Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher (Author)
Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs by Cathy Vatterott
When Teaching Gets Tough: Smart Ways to Reclaim Your Game by Allen N. Mendler (Author)
The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, 10th Anniversary Edition by Parker J. Palmer (Author)
Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching by Angela Watson (Author)


18 Angela Watson June 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

Thank you for this, Anne! How helpful.


19 Valerie June 13, 2013 at 5:34 am

Perfect- thank you so much! Now to recruit some fellow readers!


20 Tara June 27, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I definitely recommend “The End of Molasses Classes” by Ron Clark.



21 Donna July 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Thank you for the list of recommended books! My library will be doing some searching for me. :) I have just finished reading Hal Urban’s “Lessons from the Classroom – 20 Things Good Teachers Do”. It is EXCELLENT!! I HIGHLY recommend it to teachers of all grade levels.


22 The Teacher Treasury July 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for putting this list together. More teachers should spend more of their free time thinking about how to improve themselves and what professional development resources can help them make a difference.


23 Krystal L. Smith September 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

I agree! If we thought more about what was right instead of waisting time on what’s wrong (especially when it’s out of our control) we could perhaps be more productive!


24 Jennifer O. June 2, 2015 at 12:19 am

My summer reading list includes Finding the Heart of Nonfiction by Georgia Heard, Grammar Matters by Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty, The Story of My Thinking by Gretchen Bernabel, and of course Unshakeable.


25 Krystal L. Smith September 12, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Looks like I’ve found the book I will be reading in October! When Teaching Gets Tough sounds as if it will be a positive, motivating, and practicall read with tips and suggestions to help with the fall slump! Thank you for this list of recommendations.


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