Book List

I love reading!  This past semester was so busy that I stopped reading anything that wasn’t a textbook.  Now that I have some extra free time, I have a lot of books I want to read.

I love reading fiction, especially the Harry Potter books.  This summer, I want to branch out and read books that will help me develop as a teacher.  You’ll notice that this list is heavy on history literature.  I feel that I need to improve my knowledge of US history, so my choices reflect that.  On this list, I have included teaching-specific books (mostly manuals), fiction books, and nonfiction texts.  I have tried to include reading that will help me grow as a learner, reader, and teacher.

Teaching Books

  • The First Days of School by Harry Wong & Rosemary Wong – One of my professors called this the “Teacher’s Bible.”  I’ve browsed the pages and noticed it’s a lot like a “how-to” manual.  It outlines a lot of things in the classroom that a beginning teacher might forget (e.g., when to take attendance, creating daily routines for everything).  I’m thinking this book will help me in creating a classroom management plan.
  • Discipline With Dignity by Richard Curwin & Allen Mendler – I’ve read that this is the book on positive classroom management and discipline.  It claims to focus on building relationships and integrating discipline within the curriculum.  As someone with little classroom management experience, I look forward to learning from this one!
  • Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, & Jane Pollock – This book includes research-based strategies to use in K-12 classrooms.  It also has teaching materials (graphic organizers, rubrics, charts, etc.) to help teachers implement the strategies.

Nonfiction Books

  • Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen – I am currently reading this and I’m totally addicted!  This relatively long book presents many misconceptions, lies, and misinformation that many of us learned in our US history courses.  I’m learning something new on every page!  I highly recommend this book, especially to teachers.  Many textbooks purposely present misinformation to feed into the “American Origin Myth” and make heroes of historical figures (e.g., Christopher Columbus).  More than anything, this book is highly provocative.  As a future teacher, I want to make sure I am not teaching children lies.  This book makes the argument that textbooks perpetuate these lies and teachers must find ways to teach around the textbook.
  • The Shame of The Nation by Jonathan Kozol – One of my favorite professors said this is the one book all teachers should read.  Kozol details his extensive experience and research in urban schools to make the argument that “apartheid schooling” has returned in America’s schools.  Public schools are the most segregated that they’ve been since before Brown v. Board.  This book seems to be somewhat of a difficult read, with many statistics and research findings, but also includes many anecdotes for readers to relate to.  I am anticipating this book will affect me as a teacher (especially in an urban district).
  • Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy – I’ll be honest, I’ve lost a lot of faith in our leadership over the past few years.  I frequently become frustrated with politicians and legislation.  I want to read this book to try and understand the good in politicians.  JFK wrote this book about heroic senators during his time as a senator.  I hope to gain new insight and respect for politicians by reading this.
  • A People’s History of the US: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn – This book aligns well with Lies My Teacher Told Me.  It tells the story of US history through the lenses of minorities: women, slaves, immigrants, the poor, and the Native Americans.  I want to be as historically literate as possible.  I think this book will be somewhat of a challenge, but I can do it!
  • Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell – This is the diary of a hilarious teacher’s first year teaching.  I’ve started this one, and fell in love with Esme.  She can be abrasive at times (in the best way you can be abrasive), but her diary provides a firsthand account of an underfunded school and of a teacher doing an amazing job with few resources.
  • A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck & Robert Capa – I’m actually finishing up this book now.  Steinbeck chronicles a visit to Russia in the years after WWII; Capa photographs their experiences.  This book is helping me to see the profound differences in culture and the unexpected similarities in human kindness that we shared with Russia, considered an “enemy.”  Steinbeck remains amazingly unbiased throughout the book – it’s almost shocking!  If anything, this book is a good examination of how foreign “enemies” are not unlike us.
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells – I’ve been trying to read this book forever, but something always gets in the way.  This is a memoir about a woman raised by nomads, and how she was able to escape from that lifestyle.  I like reading stories of people with vastly different backgrounds and viewpoints.

Fiction Books

  • Dead Poets Society by NH Kleinbaum – This is a classic work of literature about a high school teacher inspiring students to “make [their] lives extraordinary!”
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – This book tells the story of an 11-year old African-American girl in the 1940s who wishes to be more like white children.
  • A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – A Pulitzer Prize Winner for fiction.  I’ve started this one and already love it – it tells the stories of various characters whose lives intersect in one way or another.  The book is based around music, which is awesome!
  • The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells – This has been on my list for awhile.  Like I’ve mentioned before, I couldn’t make it in this profession without the close friends I’ve made along the way (as well as my non-teacher friends, who put up with my craziness and remind me to have fun!).  This book (and movie) illustrates the importance of female friendships.
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – My brother recommended this book to me.  It’s a work of fiction that describes life after death – 5 important people in your life explain why certain things happened to you and why your life was the way it was.  It sounds absolutely fascinating!
  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – A classic that I never get around to finishing.  I’m going to this summer!
  • A Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling – Because I love JK Rowling, and want to see how she approaches adult fiction.

I definitely have A LOT of reading to do.  Luckily, I have a job that doesn’t come home with me this summer, so I’ll have a lot of time to do so!  Does anyone have some suggestions for other books teachers should read?  Let me know in the comments or in a private message!


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  1. […] ignore the huge differences in scores between neighboring districts.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I guessed that this book would be especially important for me as a future student teacher in an […]


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