Reading & Literacy

EdWeek Readers Name Their Favorite Books of the Summer

By Kate Stoltzfus — August 09, 2017 7 min read
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As one effort to stave off “summer slide” for students, some of whom are at risk of losing two to three months of reading skills when school lets out, an annual crop of reading lists emerges every year. The New York Times had more than 900 teens read articles last week as part of a 10-week summer contest. Scholastic’s Teacher magazine pulled together the expertise of librarians and teachers to recommend 50 summer must-reads for K-12 students. Science guru Bill Nye talked to the Strand Book Store in New York City about his favorite books (and no, they’re not all about science).

But what about a reading list for educators? After last year’s bevvy of recommendations from Education Week readers, opinion bloggers, and staff, we couldn’t resist the urge to repeat our #EdWeekReads Twitter poll for the second year in a row. We were curious: What made your best-of list this summer?

Nearly 100 tweets poured in from teachers, school leaders, and even authors themselves, with recommendations in fiction, YA literature, and memoir, and on a range of topics from education leadership and classroom management to well-being, history, and politics. Check out some of notable picks below, and see the complete run of readers’ recommendations on Storify.

This year’s list leaned heavily on fiction and fantasy. EdWeek Teacher opinion blogger Megan M. Allen recently shared how her classroom demands had taken over her time to read for fun. In pursuit of a mental-health break, she resolved to crack open “escapist reads” for “pure enjoyment.” Many teachers, librarians, and education consultants we heard from were also using their free time to catch up on pleasure reading.

Some readers turned to dystopian fiction, which has seen a rise in sales this year for classics like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984.

But others couldn’t stay away from self-imposed professional development and other hot education topics, such as leadership, multicultural education, and writing instruction. Author Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a Pirate and Lead Like a Pirate earned several votes of praise.

With a new U.S. president in office and a tense political climate, the desire to learn more about politics and our nation’s history seems to be informing many readers’ choices. Teachers, especially, say they aren’t shying away from politics in the classroom and seek ways to talk to their students about controversial issues. Former Education Week reporter Mary Ann Zehr, who now teaches immigrant students in Washington, dug into the Civil Rights movement.

In memoir, readers recommended stories that resonated with their work or expanded their worldview.

(Check out J.D. Vance’s interview with EdWeek correspondent Lisa Stark about how the opioid epidemic intersects with education.)

Fans of children’s and YA literature named Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give and Kwame Alexander’s newly released Solo as must-reads, among old favorites, award-winners, and books they could use in classroom lessons.

Need more titles to check out? See our previous coverage on the books Education Week‘s opinion bloggers named noteworthy.

Source: Image by Flickr user Hung Thai, licensed under Creative Commons

A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.