07/06/2020 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

10 Summer Reading Suggestions for Educators

Looking for some summer reading related to trending topics in education? Look no further than these suggestions.

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It would be hard to blame educators if they put aside their work for summer and didn’t think about education again until a week or two before school starts. It’s been about as challenging a year in school as we’ve seen, and the fall will not be much easier.

That said, the conversation on pre-collegiate education is particularly vibrant and interesting these days — and much of it pertains to two of the key issues facing schools and society: distance learning and racial justice.

In case you want to curl up with a book this summer, here are 10 suggestions for books and articles and more:

Talking with White Children About George Floyd” by Ali Michael

This NAIS online feature by antiracist educator and author Ali Michael is an excellent exploration of both the need for and challenge of talking with children about the police killing of George Floyd and other racially driven acts of violence. “It’s not about one big conversation when they turn 13; it’s about many tiny one-minute or five-minute conversations every day or every few days for their entire lives.”

How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi

Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. If you prefer, there’s a good podcast conversation between Kendi and Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston and author of five best-selling books, including “Dare to Lead.”

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

This is adaptation of Kendi’s earlier book “Stamped from the Beginning” is designed for use in schools but is also valuable for any adult reader looking to understand the roots of persistence of racism in America — and how we can build an antiracist future.

Building Meaning Builds Teens' Brains” by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Douglas R. Knecht

Published in ASCD’s journal, this article highlights important brain research that tell us how connecting adolescents’ concrete work to big ideas may help shape their neural networks over time. “Especially in an era when equity, academic achievement, and adolescents' mental health are of serious concern,” the authors write, “it is crucial to understand that teenagers’ narratives are the means they use to make meaning of their experiences, to invent themselves and their possible futures, and to learn.”

How to Be an Antiracist Educator” by Dena Simmons

Teaching for an antiracist future starts with us, the educators. In this ASCD article, Simmons (who spoke at this year's FORUM/Diversity in January) reminds us that this is the time for active engagement. The work starts with self-awareness and acknowledging racism and the ideology of white supremacy, then it moves to an antiracist curriculum and conversations with students about race and identity.

Relationships Are the Foundation of Online Learning Design” by Lucas Ames

Lucas Ames is the associate director of operations at the Global Online Academy, which means he’s had a head start on this conversation on distance learning. “When we started,” he writes in his article for the website, “we only had our intuition and the spirit of our founding schools to make relationships central to our pedagogy. Now, many years of student survey data have helped us refine that approach and design intentionally for relationships. We survey our students twice per semester. Our surveys have evolved as our program has, but we’ve always rooted student surveys in two critical questions about relationships: How connected do you feel to the teacher in this class? How well do people in your class understand you as a person?”

Why Are Some Kids Thriving During Remote Learning?” by Nora Fleming

Though remote learning has brought many challenges, some students seem to be thriving in the new circumstances. What can we learn from them? This quick read from Edutopia is helpful in thinking about improving both online and in-person teaching and learning.

What Frustrates Students Most About Online Classes (Covid-19 Edition)” by Norman Eng

In his blog, Eng, author of “Teaching College,” describes the results of an informal survey he gave to his students after the online spring semester concluded. The results include surprising insights into what drove college students crazy (Hint: It’s not the technology).

How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning” by Amielle Major

This Mindshift article connects culturally responsive teaching with distance teaching and learning. “Growing students’ brain power during distance learning starts with building cognitive routines,” Major writes. “These routines are essential to processing and hardwiring information in the brain.”

13 Resources for Educators Navigating Challenging Times

We appreciate the folks at the Global Online Academy for posting their suggested summer reading. We are particularly pleased to see that the list includes “The Students Are Watching,” by Nancy Faust Sizer and Theodore Sizer. It was published back in 2000, but remains as relevant today as ever.


What other books or articles are you reading this summer? Let us know in the comments!

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