The Top 25 Books for Educators: Wired Educator’s Summer 2016 Reading List

How many have you read? Which one is next?

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 2.54.49 PMI love to read. I think books change lives. I am providing the following list as a resource to help you pick a few great educational reads. While I have not read all of them, the ones I have not read yet, I at least had the privelege of interviewing the authors. I could have listed 50, but I had to draw the line somewhere. If your favorite isn’t on the list I hope you will leave a message in the comments. If you are an administrator I hope you’ll order these for your teacher’s lending library as pass-alongs, or some individual copies for some of your educators. Let’s support each other!

The 2016 Teacher’s Summer Reading List

1) Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess: I recommend this book to all teachers because it will get you fired up about teaching passionately in new ways. This is an inspiring read and a gateway book to other educational ideas and practices.

2) Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution that’s Transforming Education by Ken Robinson: I like everything by Ken Robinson, and this book is another winner. If you want to be part of the educational revolution, you will do well by adding this to your shopping cart. Great ideas.

3) Launch by John Spencer & A.J. Juliani: So, you’re fired up and have a lot of great ideas? Awesome! Now you need to know how to implement all of these great ideas in a way that will impact learners. Launch will show you the way. This is probably one of the hottest educational reads of the summer.

4) Courageous Edventures: Navigating Obstacles to Discover Classroom Innovation by Jennie Magiera: “Want to leverage digital tools to innovate and take risks in your teaching? Looking for ways to troubleshoot common classroom challenges? Jennie Magiera charts a course for you to discover your own version of innovation, using the limitless possibilities of educational technology. Packed with lesson plans, examples and practical solutions.”

5) Living Forward by Michael Hyatt: You plan your lessons, now plan your life. This book isn’t just for teachers, and isn’t necessarily an “educational” book, but it will help you accomplish more and make a lasting impact. I highly recommend it.

6) Along Came a Leader by Kelly Croy: I added this book because I don’t think most people understand that this is indeed a book for schools, educators, and all stake holders in education. The biggest threat to our youth is the misconception that someone else will teach them how to be leaders. Happy to report several schools have ordered mass quantities for staff, students, and courses. Leadership is the difference.

7) The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros: “In The Innovator’s Mindset, George Couros encourages teachers and administrators to empower their learners to wonder, to explore–and to become forward-thinking leaders. If we want innovative students, we need innovative educators. In other words, innovation begins with you. Ultimately, innovation is not about a skill set: it’s about a mindset.”

8) Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller: Yes, teachers should be designing their own texts and resources and Matt’s book will show you how. Love this book. Great job Matt!

10) Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera: This  book will have the biggest single influence on my classroom for the upcoming year. Thank you Michael. I cannot tell you how great this book is, so you’re going to have to grab your own copy: “Are you ready to transform your classroom into an experiential work that flourishes on collaboration and creativity? Then set sail with classroom game designer and educator Michael Matera as he reveals the possibilities and power of game-based learning.” In Explore Like a PIRATE, Matera serves as your experienced guide to help you apply the most motivational techniques of gameplay to your classroom using strategies that work with and enhance (rather than replace) your current curriculum.

11) Through Students Eyes by Kristien Zentkov Jim Harmon: This very well may be one of the most moving and meaningful projects I have ever seen implented in education. Big words I know, this book backs them up. “eachers are desperate for pedagogical philosophies, curricula, and practices that will support them with helping young people appreciate the value of school, engage or re-engage youth with this most foundational of our public institutions and aid adolescents in the development of the core literacy and writing skills they need to be successful in school and beyond. This volume will assist teachers in recognizing the increasing diversity of their students who often look very different from and have life and school experiences that are very different than those of the educators who serve them.”

12) 50 Things You Can do with Google Classroom by Alice Keeler: Using Google? Whether you said yes or no, this book is for you. It will help you get started or master using Google in the classroom. And now there is a companion book to take Google Classroom even further titled: 50 Things to Take Google Classroom Even Further. Should you grab both? Yes, of course!

13) The Classroom Chef by John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey: I loaned this book to a friend and he loves it.  I interviewed John, who is brilliant, and I love the ideas my friend has shared. “”I just don’t get math.” If you’re a math teacher, you probably can’t count the number of times you’ve heard students, parents, and even fellow teachers make a disparaging statement about your subject. As math teachers and instructional coaches, John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey know how discouraging it feels to look out into a classroom full of disinterested and confused students.”

14) Amplify: Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom by Kristin Ziemke: “Using technology doesn’t mean that we throw out those strategies that we’ve found to be successful with students,” write Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke. “It’s not the tools-it’s what we do with them that counts. You’ll help students dig into texts, research their questions, and create powerful learning communities by using digital tools effectively, responsibly, and in combination with trusted artifacts and print resources.

15) The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen: I really need to read this book. The reviews are fantastic and it is an important topic. Added to my list. “A neuroscientist looks at adolescent brain development and offers practical suggestions for anyone and everyone working with young people.”

16)  The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups by Erika Christakis: I wish I had this book when my girls were little. This would be a great gift for expecting parents too. Add this to your library.

17) Deeper Learning with QR Codes and Augmented Reality by Monica Burns: I had the pleasure of interviewing Monica recently. She is a treasure trove of knowledge and I am excited to put this book to use next year. “What if your students’ mobile devices became an instructional asset rather than a distraction? Discover how free, scannable technology can enrich learning, while captivating students. Best of all, these technologies are easy to quickly implement within your classroom. Grab your copy this summer and get started for the upcoming year.”

18) Falling in Love with Close Reading by Christopher Lehman and Kathleen Roberts: I wasn’t a fan of close reading. Now I understand it so much better and know why it’s important and how to help readers become better readers. I really recommend this book for ALL educators. Close reading is nececessary, and you are probably already teaching some of these skills, well now you can take it to a higher level. This is a must-read for all educators in all fields, at all levels.

19) 140 Twitter Tips for Educators by Billy Currie and Brad Krakower: I love Twitter, I use it every day, and I thought I knew just about all I needed to know. Well, this book taught me much. Twitter is the greatest professional development available. This book isn’t just about Twitter either. Grab it.

20) Play Like a Pirate by Quinn Rollins and P is for Pirate by Shelley Burgess: See what I did there? I cheated! I snuck two books in one spot.  Well they are two completely different books, but I would grab them both. Play Like a Pirate highlights the importance of play in all classrooms and more importantly offers real ways to accomplish play in meaningful ways. I love this book. We all want to have fun but are sometimes afraid to do it. Well, here is your permission slip. P is for Pirate is a fun reinformcement of the PIRATE method of teaching found in Teach Like a Pirate. It’s set up like a children’s illustrated book, but it is an awesome way to learn and reinforce the PIRATE method of teaching. Love it!

21) The Zen Teacher by Dan Tricarico: The benefits of mindfulness are becoming popular topics for our students, but what about educators. I interviewed the author and I am convinced teachers will benefit from this book. We need to make some time for oursleves and make it count.

22) Socratic Circles by Matt Copeland: This is my next read! “The benefits and importance of Socratic seminars are widely recognized, but little has been written on how to make them happen successfully in the classroom. By offering real-world examples and straightforward answers to frequent questions, Matt Copeland has created a coaching guide for both the teacher new to Socratic seminars and the experienced teacher seeking to optimize the benefits of this powerful strategy. Socratic Circles also shows teachers who are familiar with literature circles the many ways in which these two practices complement and extend each other. Effectively implemented, Socratic seminars enhance reading comprehension, listening and speaking skills, and build better classroom community and conflict resolution skills.”

23) Goodness Falls by Ty Roth: This is a novel. Educators need to read novels. I like this one for many reasons. It’s not only a great read, it addresses head injuries in sports in an incredible way.

24) The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax: I am really looking forward to reading this book. It’s on my list. “In The Collapse of Parenting, physician, psychologist, and internationally acclaimed author Leonard Sax presents data documenting a dramatic decline in the achievement and psychological health of American children. Sax argues that rising levels of obesity, depression, and anxiety among young people—as well as the explosion in prescribing psychiatric medications to kids—can all be traced to parents letting their kids call the shots.”

25) You Tell Me! What book would you recommend for educators to read this summer?  Let me know in the comments!

Still looking for some great reads? Really? Well, listen to The Wired Educator Podcast. I ask every guest what their most inflential read is, and subscribe to The Wired Educator blog, as I do many book reviews.


Kelly Croy is an educator, author and speaker. 

You can subscribe and listen to his Wired Educator Podcast here.

(Check out The Wired Educator Podcast & please subscribe & leave your review on iTunes. Thanks!)

Invite Kelly to speak at your event here.

Subscribe to The Wired Educator blog here.

Kelly’s book, Along Came a Leader is available for purchase here. 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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