It’s a new year, and a great time to recommit to your own development and maybe set some reading goals. To that end, I have some suggestions for books to help you learn — and a great way to move beyond theory to practice. But let’s start with some of the best books for teachers!
21 best books for educators
I’m always reading and I have a shelf of professional development books for teachers that I’m frequently recommending … and there’s always more to read. Here are a few I recommend for your TBR pile, broken down by category.
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It’s hard to pick the best books for teachers, but these books on phonics and reading for educators provide a good starting point.
1. A Fresh Look at Phonics
This is a good starting place if you are new to teaching phonics, and not a hard read.
2. Complete Phonic Handbook
Need phonic patterns? This book has colored lists sorted by phonic pattern. You’ll find yourself referring to this book often.
3. SoundsWrite Phonics Games and Activities for the Initial Code
Over 190 activities to help students practice reading and writing, and you can use them for whole class, small groups, or individual work.
4. Think Big with Think Alouds
Do you read aloud to your students? This book can help you make more of that with think alouds. Whether you think aloud already or are new to the idea, you’ll find this one helpful.
5. Equipped for Reading Success
This is a go-to, research-driven, how-to book for teaching kids to read. David Kilpatrick covers phonemic awareness, orthographic mapping, and more.
6. Why Our Children Can’t Read and What to Do About It
This gem of a book by Diane Mcguinness tackles the reading systems used in schools. Based on years of research, it focuses on the need for phoneme awareness. It’s definitely worth the read.
Ready to put theory into practice? Start with the Spelling Game Challenge! Free spelling games totally free and done for you to get your kids more enthusiastic about spelling!
Math & science
Professional development books for teachers of math don’t have to be dry. Rethink who you think about and teach math and science.
1. Making Sense of Math
Want your students to be flexible thinkers and problem solvers? You may need to be flexible about how you approach teaching math. Check out this book by Cathy Seeley.
2. Mathematical Mindsets
Understand how the brain learns math, how to develop a growth mindset in math, and bring more engaging rich activities to your math teaching. See what the research shows — and how to apply it in your classroom.
3. Math Fact Fluency
If you know your students need to build mathematical fluency, and you want to go beyond flashcards, add this book to your list.
4. Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices in K-Grade 5
This book focuses on 8 effective practices, shows how they look and sound in the classroom and gives clear ideas for actually putting it all into action.
5. 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions
If you think about math mostly as something you teach and students do, examine this approach to math discussions and how they help students learn.
6. Reimagining the Mathematics Classroom
This book looks at the physical space, the tasks you assign, the way you do assessments, and so much more with proven techniques and real-life examples.
7. The Educator’s Guide to STEAM
What is STEAM (not STEM), and why should you incorporate it into your classroom? This book answers not only why, but how.
Check out my recommendations for math picture books you can use with students too.
Planning & management
Classroom management is always a challenge. Here are some of the best books for educators on my planning and management list:
1. Understanding How We Learn
I found this book to be both a fascinating and entertaining look at how we learn. It does a great job simplifying complex concepts with engaging illustrations.
2. Better Than Carrots or Sticks
Want a cooperative and respectful classroom that doesn’t focus on rewards or punishments? This would be an interesting read.
3. The First Days of School
Take a look at classroom management that focuses on teaching structure and routine early in the year (though you can implement things anytime).
4. The First Six Weeks of School
This book from Responsive Classroom is designed to help you start the year off right and set yourself up for the rest of the year.
Sometimes you need to focus on you. From mindfulness to self-care to why we do it, here are some books for teachers in the inspiration/self-care category.
1. Happy Teachers Change the World
There is a movement to bring more mindfulness to classrooms. This book starts with teachers being more mindful themselves and bringing that to the classroom.
2. 180 Days of Self-Care for Busy Educators
Do you put your oxygen mask on last? We can all use more self-care!
3. I Wish My Teacher Knew
Based on the response to a third-grade teacher’s question: I wish my teacher knew ___. There’s so much we don’t know as educators.
4. Teach Like a Pirate
If you’re looking to infuse creativity and more engagement in class, check this one out.
Professional development books for teachers are important. I know I have a bunch I go back to again and again. Some for theory and some for activities. If you’re ready to put what you’ve learned into practice, but don’t want to create everything from scratch, a Top Notch Teaching Membership has you covered.
Have done-for-you resources (a mix of downloads or digital formats) at your fingertips. A year’s worth of phonics homework? Math games? Task cards? PE lesson plans? Classroom management tools? It’s all in there, ready for you. All you have to do is join >> https://topnotchteaching.com/members/