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8 Page-Turners for Teachers to Read

8 Page-Turners for Teachers to Read

By Kelly Bielefeld

Summer, winter, spring and fall—it’s always a good time of year for a great book. These 12 books (and a few bonus ideas) will keep you busy reading year round and help you become a better teacher at the same time.

More: 5 Techy Teacher Reads for Summer

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Although the “new” psychology of success is now almost 10 years old, this is still a must read for educators of all grade levels. Dweck provides many examples of the “growth mindset” in education and industry. In a nutshell, Dweck asserts that we can assist our students in seeing themselves as growing learners instead of either a success or failure.

The book provides practical examples of how to implement the mindset in a classroom. A post-secondary teacher preparation program that I am involved with is actually using this text as our launch point for the philosophy of the program. Needless to say, it’s the first on my list for a reason.

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess

In this book, Burgess takes Madeline Hunter’s anticipatory set and puts it on steroids. His multiple ideas for “hooks” are extremely valuable and easy to apply in the classroom at any level. As much as anything, Burgess gives teachers a mindset for how to approach engagement, learning, and passion for what we do.

The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer

Palmer’s audience is higher education, but many of the themes in the book apply to educators at all levels. This “classic” is almost 20 year old now, but it still rings true. For all of us with the “heart of an educator,” Palmer’s words are a reminder about the big picture of why we do what we do. You won’t be disappointed. Another book by Palmer, (where is even better…but is not an education book): Let Your Life Speak.

More: 20 Teachers Explain Why They Love What They Do

Night by Elie Wiesel and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

These are both themed around concentration camps during WWII and are not “education” books, so to speak. But both books talk about the human spirit and have a message for us as educators about how we approach our students, our careers, and our lives.

With the passing of Wiesel this summer, it’s a timely read either for the first time or to revisit if you have read it before. These books have changed the way I view the world and those around me.

Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites by Marsha Tate

The number one word I think of after reading Tate’s book is practical. The ideas are clear and easy to implement. As educators, we often know the worksheet isn’t the key to learning and this book gives us ideas for how to move beyond and truly increase student learning.

Lost at School by Ross Greene

Dr. Greene is the go-to for research-based practice on students with challenging behavior. He has many other books including the Explosive Child. Lost at School not only provides some of the whys behind student behavior, but also has some of the how’s for how we help students to succeed.

Help for Billy by Heather Forbes

This book goes hand-in-hand with Greene’s work. The trauma-sensitive approach to students changed the way I view education and many of our students. If you have ever wondered, “What I am I going to do with this student? Where is this behavior coming from? Will punishing or suspending this student even help change the behavior?” then this is the book for you.

Helping Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Along the same lines as Mindset and Duckworth’s Grit (which I haven’t read yet), Helping Children Succeed is full of researched-based ideas for helping all kids. At times, we disconnect things like achievement and grades from actual success. Success, both in the classroom and in life, requires different and deeper skills, especially for students growing up in poverty. Tough gives us practical ways to help increase the likelihood of success.

More: 5 Awesome Tools for Motivating Students

Bonus Suggestions

As educators we must model learning for our students, so instead of assuming that all learning comes from books, here are a few other mediums for learning that are worth looking into.

  • Online course: Learning How to Learn: Sit in a seat in the virtual classroom. Learn about learning. Apply the ideas as the school year begins.
  • Blog: If you are a Google school or use GAFE in your classroom, you must know and read Alice Keeler on a regular basis.
  • Videos: Lex Prin videos just keep getting funnier. Use your sharpie to write some teacher bumper numbers for some silly teacher humor. You won’t regret it!

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