Enterprise City Blog

8 Books Educators Should Read

[fa icon="calendar'] 2/9/16 11:10 AM / by Kelly Main



As educators we are often stressing the importance of reading- whether it is reading books or simply just instructions. For good reason too- statistics on literacy show that there is a direct correlation to reading levels to life success in a variety of ways. We know better than anyone about the importance of education and reading, but at some point we get busy, we get comfortable with our knowledge and slowly we stop reading ourselves. Less than half of American adults read in their spare time and of those the majority read just one book over the past year. As educators, you do a lot of reading, but how much of this reading is related to career development? Maybe a bit, but in case not- here are some top reads for educators...


  • 1. Why Don’t Students Like School by Daniel Willingham 

Best for: Those who are interested in engaging students (and those who like science and research-based methods & applications)

Overview: Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals-the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences. 

-Nine, easy-to-understand principles with clear applications for the classroom

-Includes surprising findings, such as that intelligence is malleable, and that you cannot develop "thinking skills" without facts

-How an understanding of the brain's workings can help teachers hone their teaching skills

  • 2. How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Best for: Those interested in psychology and development in relation to success

Overview: Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

  • 3. A Place Called School by John Goodlad

Best for: A refresher on a classic

Overview: First published 20 years ago, A Place Called School is the revolutionary account of the largest on-scene study of U.S. schools ever conducted. Carried on over four years, trained investigators entered more than 1,000 classrooms nationwide to talk to teachers, students, administrators, parents, and other community members. The result is this report. Written by one of the nation's most astute and experienced educators, Goodlad's message of optimism and his agenda for improvement have only grown in importance since the book's original publication.


  • 4. See Me After Class by Roxanna Elden

Best for: A fun read and some honest advice and insight

Overview: Teaching is tough. And teachers, like the rest of the population, aren't perfect. Yet good teaching happens, and great teachers continue to inspire and educate generations of students. See Me After Class helps those great teachers of the future to survive the classroom long enough to become great.

Fueled by hundreds of hilarious--and sometimes shocking--tales from the teachers who lived them, Elden provides tips and strategies that deal head-on with the challenges that aren't covered in new-teacher training. Lessons can go wrong. Parents may yell at you. Sunday evenings will sometimes be accompanied by the dreaded countdown to Monday morning. As a veteran teacher, Elden offers funny, practical, and honest advice, to help teachers walk through the doors of their classrooms day after day with clarity, confidence...and sanity!

  • 5. Move Your Bus by Ron Clark

Best for: Those interested in leadership and teamwork

Overview: New York Times bestselling author and award-winning educator Ron Clark applies his successful leadership principles to the business world in this effective and accessible guidebook, perfect for any manager looking to inspire and motivate his or her team. Includes a foreword by bestselling author and FranklinCovey executive Sean Covey.

Teamwork is crucial to the success of any business, and as acclaimed author and speaker Ron Clark illustrates, the members of any team are the key to unlocking success. Imagine a company as a bus filled with people who either help or hinder a team’s ability to move it forward: drivers (who steer the organization), runners (who consistently go above and beyond for the good of the organization), joggers (who do their jobs without pushing themselves), walkers (who are just getting pulled along), and riders (who hinder success and drag the team down). It’s the team leader’s job to recognize how members fall into these categories, encourage them to keep the “bus” moving by working together, and know when it’s time to kick the riders off.

In the tradition of Who Moved My Cheese? and Fish!, Move Your Bus is an accessible and uplifting business parable that illustrates Clark’s expert strategies to maximize the performance of each member of a team. These easy to implement techniques will inspire employees and team leaders alike to work harder and smarter and drive the organization to succeed.

  • 6. Unshakeable by Angela Hudson

Best for: Those looking for a reminder of why they chose this career and how to make it fun it again.

Overview: Don't wait for teaching to become fun again: plan for it! Unshakeable is a collection of inspiring mindset shifts and practical, teacher-tested ideas for getting more satisfaction from your job. It's an approach that guides you to find your inner drive and intrinsic motivation which no one can take away.  Unshakeable will help you incorporate a love of life into your teaching, and a love of teaching into your life. Learn how to tap into what makes your work inherently rewarding and enjoy teaching every day...no matter what.

  • 7. Hacking Education by Mark Barnes

Best for: Those who want ways to solve problems and to get results

Overview: You have problems, but you don’t have time for a 5-year plan. You’re tired of philosophy, research and piles of data. You want practical solutions that you can implement immediately. You don’t need a committee or another meeting. You need Hackers—experienced educators who understand your school’s problems and see quick fixes that may be so simple that they’ve been overlooked. Hacking Education is the book that every teacher, principal, parent, and education stakeholder has been waiting for--the one that actually solves problems.

  • 8. The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros

Best for: Those who are interested in innovation in the classroom

Overview: Kids walk into schools full of wonder and questions. How you, as an educator, respond to students' natural curiosity can help further their own exploration and shape the way they learn today and in the future. The traditional system of education requires students to hold their questions and compliantly stick to the scheduled curriculum. But our job as educators is to provide new and better opportunities for our students. It's time to recognize that compliance doesn't foster innovation, encourage critical thinking, or inspire creativity--and those are the skills our students need to succeed.

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.

Many of these books will be familiar to you, sure. If you don’t have time to re-read them, give some thought to what they were about and the lessons they reveal. What did you like most about them? What did you like least? Where might you improve upon them? For those who find that there are books on the list that they have not read, add it to your library list. Most are easy enough reads and should be enjoyable. Remember on-going education is key.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions please comment below and happy teaching! 

Topics: Middle School, Education, K-12, Teacher Blog

Kelly Main

Written by Kelly Main

Subscribe to Email Updates