June 20, 2019 by

Make the Most of the Summer with These Staff Picks

Summer is a great time to relax, recharge, and read! In honor of the first day of Summer, we went around and asked the staff at ASCD what they would suggest every educator read this Summer. Here are their answers.


Educational Leadership – Separate and Still Unequal: Race in America’s Schools

I would suggest every educator take the time this Summer to read the April issue of Educational Leadership Magazine, “Separate and Still Unequal: Race in America’s Schools”. The Summer is a fantastic time to relax and recharge but it is also a crucial time for us to re-educate ourselves. This issue of ASCD’s magazine looks at the topic of race and schools in the context of the 65th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. While the anniversary date has passed, I encourage educators to continue to take a hard look, from different viewpoints, at the persistence of racial inequities – and racism – in our education system.

Ronn Nozoe, Interim Executive Director and CEO

Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice by Allison Rodman

Allison Rodman’s Personalized Professional Learning provides district and school administrators with a roadmap for transforming existing professional development programs into more effective and innovative learning experiences that elevate onsite expertise while still aligning with school and district priorities. Supported by research and informed by the experiences of educators across the United States, it distills best practices for adult learning into clear advice and ready-to-use tools.

Aman Dhanda, Director of Educator Engagement

What We Say and How We Say It Matter by Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson has always looked at what supports and helps great teaching – whether its staff wellness or the environments and climates we create. This book delves into what we all do everyday as educators and how that can help (or hinder) teaching and learning, as well as students’ sense of belonging, connectedness, and motivation to learn.  Another great read from Mike!

Sean Slade, Senior Director of Global Outreach

Various articles from Education Update

As one of the editors who works on our newsletters and publications, I can’t help plugging just a few of my favorite articles of the year so far.  I recommend Dena Simmons’ Education Update piece on whitewashed social-emotional learning, Christina Torres’ call to put love back into assessment, and Britt Hawthorne’s alternatives to praise in the classroom. If your list still isn’t long enough, we talked to some of our Empower19 conference speakers about the books that changed their lives.

Kate Stoltzfus, Associate Writer

Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

In connection with a project I’m working on, I’ve recently been reading Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, one of ASCD’s most influential books. This is the groundbreaking work in which Wiggins (who passed in 2015, unfortunately) and McTighe introduce the concept of “backward design” and present an approach (rich with theoretical underpinnings) for orienting curriculum and instructional planning around in-depth or enduring student understanding. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I haven’t read UBD before–now that I’m a ways into it, I can see why it’s made such big impact in the field. It’s not an easy book–the level detail and conceptual depth demand close reading–but it is illuminating and deeply informed. I feel like I now have better grasp of the issues underlying curriculum and instruction, and I feel inspired by the authors’ approach to deliberate, reflective planning. As others have pointed out, the concepts are applicable to areas of life outside the classroom as well.

Anthony Rebora, Editor in Chief, Educational Leadership

Relationship, Responsibility, and Regulation: Trauma-Invested Practices for Fostering Resilient Learners by Kristin Van Marter Souers and Pete Hall

With everything happening in the world today, I have found that Kristin Van Marter Souers and Pete Hall’s book to be a must-read for all educators. Educators have a unique opportunity to influence students’ learning, attitudes, and futures. Drawing from their extensive experience working with schools, students, and families throughout the country, the authors illustrate trauma-invested practices in action through real scenarios that identify students’ unmet needs, examine the situation from five stakeholder perspectives, and suggest interventions to support students and their families. This book will invigorate your practice and equip you to empower those you serve—whatever their personal histories.

MacKenzie Masten, Social Media Strategist

The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again by Chase Mielke

Every educator has experienced burnout. Chase Mielke’s experience with burnout as a young teacher in Michigan inspired him to write The Burnout Cure, which explores the power of positive psychology and how we can harness it to reset the way we look at teaching. Summer is a time to reflect and recharge, which makes The Burnout Cure an ideal summer read. Berkeley’s positive psychology magazine, Greater Good Mag, agrees, with writer Amy Eva naming it a recommended summer read for educators in the magazine’s June 21 issue.

Alexa Epitropoulos, Author and Media Relations Specialist 


Notable Mentions:

What will you be reading this Summer? Let us know on Twitter by tweeting at us!

MacKenzie Masten is the Social Media Strategist for ASCD and Managing Editor for Inservice. She is the voice behind ASCD's social media presence and her writing can be found on Inservice and ThinkFun Education. You can connect with her @kenziemasten.