Food for Thought Friday: What Are You Reading This Summer?

by Kristie Burk

Last Wednesday, I joined the #educoach Twitter chat.  Sitting on my comfortable couch, I was easily able to talk with educators from all over the country for the hour and get some wonderful ideas!

One of our discussions was about our “educational” summer reading list.  I was excited because I had already started a summer reading list of some recommended educational books.  It’s a Google Doc, so feel free to look at the list and to add to it.  Here’s the URL if you want to share:

Within just a few minutes, I got a great list of suggestions from the group.  Todd Schmidt, a principal out of Corona del Mar, suggested two books that were just recently published: Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica and What Connected Educators Do Differently by Todd Whitaker and Jeffrey Zoul.  Both are definitely on my to-read list.

Other recommendations include:

  • Leadership Coaching for Educators: Bringing Out the Best in School Administrators by Karla Reiss and Leading 21st Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement by Lynne R. Schrum and Barbara B. Levin, suggested by Jessica Johnson, 2014 Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year.
  • Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits by Donalyn Miller
  • and The Unstoppable Writing Teacher by M. Colleen Cruz, suggested by Jackie Wincoop, a literacy coach in Central PA.
  • Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess and The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation

    by Elena Aguilar, suggested by Amy Herter, a tech coach from Kansas.
  • Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family/school Partnerships by Anne T. Henderson, suggested by Jay Posik, a middle school principal from Wisconsin.
  • No More Meltdowns: Positive Strategies for Managing and Preventing Out-Of-Control Behavior by Jed Baker and 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12 by Thomas W. Phelan, suggested by Debbie, an assistant principal in Texas.
  • High-Impact Instruction: A Framework for Great Teaching by Jim Knight, suggested by Dan Butler, principal in Western Dubuque Community School District in Iowa.
  • The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande, suggested by Kristie Bleers. 

I’m excited to read some of the books on the list and to see your suggestions as well.  (Don’t forget to add them at!)

And before you ask about whether I prefer digital books or printed books, the answer is…both!  I love to use my Kindle Paperwhite in the summer because it can hold hundreds of books when luggage space is at a premium and I can read it outdoors without glare. I also like that I can loan and borrow books from my mom’s Kindle account and that I can get lots of ebooks for free with my Chester County Library Account.

But there is something special about the feel of a “real” book with pages to turn and weight in my hand.  I’m reading the first book of the Harry Potter series with my last child and there’s something special about the dog-eared, smudged pages that I’ve touched many times before.

Happy summer reading, folks!


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