Teachers: Don’t Read These 8 Books This Summer!

The flurry of grading and lesson plans often trumps personal and professional reading during the school year.  My “to read” stack on the nightstand grows each school year in eager anticipation of a visit South and lazy afternoons reading in my mother’s porch hammock.

© 2010 open source.com. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#34).

© 2010 open source.com. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#34).

In addition to some fiction reading to “clear the cobwebs” out of my brain (last year’s summer indulgence: several titles in the Scarlet Pimpernel series by Baroness Orczy), I always set aside at least one book to digest for professional development.  I tend to choose practical books from which I can distill and implement at least one practical application in the coming school year.  This summer I’m tackling a book on writing, but here are some recent summer reads that have challenged me on a variety of levels.

The First Days of School by Wong and Wong

Written for new teachers, this book is a must-read for all incoming teachers. However, veteran teachers can benefit from the practical reminders in this book.  I flip through it each summer.

Kingdom Living in Your Classroom by Joy McCullough

This book approaches Kingdom education from the inside out.  Starting with the heart of the teacher and moving to extremely practical application, this book provides a thorough examination of distinctively Christian teaching.

The Academic Imperative by Richard A. Riesen

This book examines the priorities of Christian education and its development in history.  It’s worth reading just for Chapter Three:  “We’ve God too Much Going On.”  Prepare to have your thinking challenged!

The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory

First published in 1886 as a guide for Sunday School teachers, Gregory’s seven laws lay the framework for effective teaching in any era.  Don’t be put off by the nineteenth century language.  It’s worth the effort!

Boundaries with Kids by Cloud and Townsend

Struggling with classroom management?  Have parents that need help setting boundaries for their students?  This book presents ten boundary principles children need to learn with extremely practical examples.

Teaching as Storytelling by Kieran Egan

First published in 1986 by the University of Chicago, this little book (116 pages) is not for the faint of heart, but it offers a unique perspective to those who brave its pages!  Egan proposes that story-telling is the most-effective teaching method and challenges teachers to contemplate the question “What matters most?” in every lesson.

Bringing Words to Life by Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, and Linda Kucan

Read this book and you will never give a matching vocabulary test again!  The authors’ passion for words practically leaps off the pages as they present practical helps for “robust” vocabulary instruction and assessment.

Smart but Scattered Teens by Richard Guare, Peg Dawson, and Colin Guare

An excellent book to help teachers understand students who may struggle with executive functioning.  The authors present practical diagnostic tools and systems to help struggling teens.  There is a companion volume for younger students as well.   Be sure to filter the child-centered approach through a Christian worldview.

I’m always looking for good book recommendations, so please take time to comment and share what’s on your “must read” list!  

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Marty Reed teaches at Veritas School, a classical Christian school in Richmond, Virginia. Her twenty years of teaching, coupled with her duties as pastor's wife and mother of two, provide her with excellent insights to share with FOCUS readers.

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  • Edward Earwood

    Some great reading ideas, Marty. Thanks!