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Amy Williams

Professional Education Expert

Best Education Books for K-8 Teachers & Best Books for Teachers

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Professional libraries and teachers’ shelves are often full of educator books that are never read or never looked at again after that initial introduction or reading. While time must have something to do with it, there’s no doubt that content is what pulls us back to the pages. These top ten professional books will draw you back, make you tab pages, and will be put to use and reflected upon. Educators seeking professional spark and motivation will put this top five list to use.

With the best education books for K-8 teachers, you'll have more than library books. Our best books for teachers recommendations get used because of their helpful suggestions that provide the best teacher resources.

Best Books for K-8 Educators by Amy Williams

The Best You Can Get

  • It’s Being Done

    Amy says: The author describes the successes of fifteen schools facing disadvantages of low-income students and diverse backgrounds in a straightforward and inspiring read. The stories show an unbiased look at successful strategies and commonalities at the schools. Commonalities among the practices and qualities observed include ensuring quality teachers and a productive use school time. Dedicated educators are closing the achievement gap and it’s not just the high test scores at these “disadvantaged” schools showing proof, but the author reveals that the students do epitomize a high level of student skills. “It’s Being Done” shows action, describes what’s going on in schools, and makes readers want to do even more to give all students the tools to accomplish the American Dream.

    • By Karin Chenoweth
    • 250 pages (2007)
    • Professional Learning Communities and Education Reform
  • Enriching the Brain: How to Maximize Every Learner’s Potential

    Amy says: Internationally recognized as a leading expert in brain research, Eric Jenson shows his passion for helping others and inspiring teachers and parents to help others achieve their highest brain potential. Readers will garner innovative ideas and strategies for the classroom and home to enrich the brainpower of all learners, even with those who have learning difficulties or are gifted and talented. Jensen shows how the brain is malleable and what physically happens with and without enrichment. Make a difference in the life of a child by building the achievement capacity of learning, memory, behavior, and overall function. Teachers, administrators, and parents will be motivated by Jenson to step it up.

    • By Eric Jenson
    • 352 pages
    • Brain research
    • Published in 2006
  • How Full is Your Bucket

    Amy says: The authors showcase a beautiful, profound, yet simple message of positive give and take. The concept of treating others positively, while not new, is shown through the metaphor of a dipper and bucket. Fill other’s buckets with positive experiences and in turn fill yours as well. The book is filled with strategies and stories that can be applied to all aspects of our lives while guiding one to build personal development and leadership skills. Read and make a place you love to be, from the classroom, home, and the world beyond. Share this book with your teammates and administrators.

    • By Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, PhD
    • 128 pages
    • Positive psychology
    • Published in 2004
  • Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56

    Amy says: Get inspired by the book, the story, and the teacher like no other. Integrate Esquith’s love for learning throughout the curriculum with techniques and innovations to light a fire under any student. Become skilled at helping students to naturally take responsibility for their actions and to see failure as a vital part of learning. Readers will understand how going the extra mile makes a difference even when teaching difficult students. The author teaches fifth grade, second language learners, and first generation immigrants living in poverty. By all accounts he is passionate and has transformed his class. His creativity and concern is contagious and is worth buying into for the sake of students everywhere. If nothing else, take heed of the author’s motto: “Be nice, work hard. There are no shortcuts.”

    • By Rafe Esquith
    • 243 pages
    • Published in 2007
    • Esquith has been honored by Oprah, the Dalai Lama, and has received the President’s National Medal of the Arts
  • The Bully Free Classroom: Over 100 Tips and Strategies for Teachers K-8

    Amy says: You’ll put to use this well-organized, easy-to-read collection of 100 prevention and intervention strategies for coping with bullies and victims. Beane provides specific ideas for turning bullies, creating a safe classroom environment, helping students stick up for themselves and each other, to reporting bullying and showing kindness and respect. Teachers will be able to put to use the practical activities right away and can encourage discussion with the prompts and journal ideas provided.

    • By Allan L. Beane PhD
    • 166 pages
    • Published in 1999
    • Beane specializes in developing violence-prevention programs for schools

You will be happy with any of these

  • The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction

    Amy says: Understanding the strengths of students, classrooms, and schools helps build a framework for building a quality school. Marzano’s research guides educators to examine what they are doing, what they know, and how they can build upon a strong framework of knowledge development. No matter your teaching experience, you’ll glean usable tactics for logical planning and winning instruction. The book’s format is designed around ten questions for thought and action from communicating learning goals, deepening understanding, to engaging students. The research and model for quality teaching encourages teachers to continue crafting their teaching skills for even higher student achievement.

    • By Robert J. Marzano
    • 221 pages
    • Published in 2007
    • Model for Quality Teaching
  • Classrooms that Work: They Can All Read and Write (Fourth Edition)

    Amy says: Cunningham and Allington show great insight into the balanced literacy approach though a core set of ideas such as real reading and writing, guided reading and writing, decoding and word knowledge. Use as a primer for teaching strategies and why to teach them and as a refresher on the comprehensive approach to instructional reading methods. Teachers will find workable, practical techniques to keep children engaged in a meaning-centered classroom. For a clear picture of how a balanced reading program works, the authors detail sample days of three different elementary level classrooms. The approaches can be used as is or can be adjusted to suit your style or even a middle school classroom. Teachers will tell other teachers to read this book.

    • By Patricia M. Cunningham and Richard L. Allington
    • 320 pages
    • Published in 2006
    • Balanced Literacy
  • Mosaic of Thought, Second Edition: The Power of Comprehension Strategy and Instruction

    Amy says: The authors have honed and added to their popular first edition, showing what effective comprehension instruction looks like. A narrative format makes the second edition an easy-to-read, quick-to-apply resource for reading instruction and making the classroom more productive. Teachers will find answers to age-old questions about reading and teaching strategies, and ways to deepen instruction and put to use practical, thoughtful ideas using seven core strategies. The authors include detailed descriptions of comprehension lessons, a helpful Q & A section and innovations from teachers around the country for polishing practices of think-alouds and conferencing. Teachers who don’t teach reading, but read in their classrooms will gain insight on understanding the complex teachings of reading comprehension and will be better equipped to integrate reading into their lessons. Use “Mosaic of Thought” to when planning reading instruction, you’ll find yourself tabbing page after page.

    • By Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman
    • 312 pages
    • Published in 2007
    • 70% new material from first edition, grounded in research
  • Make It Real: Strategies for Success with Informational Texts

    Amy says: Pique students’ natural interests and keep them authentically engaged and excited about reading. Informational literacy is critical to student success and fortunately links the curriculum across the board. Hoyt suggests that reading informational texts builds confidence when students are reading to learn, builds natural curiosities, and helps close the gender gap. Teachers will find the text practical and loaded with instructional strategies. The suggestions for getting started are simple and include teaching points, reading strategies, writing exercises, checklists, plans, and logs, and finally experiences from teachers across the country. Help kids love to read, no matter what you teach.

    • By Linda Hoyt
    • 336 pages
    • Published in 2002
    • Informational Literacy
  • Motivating Students Who Don’t Care: Successful Techniques for Educators

    Amy says: A compact, quick read teachers will keep around, reread, and share with cohorts. Mendler’s approach shows educators how to give students hope and make that meaningful connection with discouraged students of all ages. A core set of beliefs drives the processes emphasizing effort, creating hope, expressing enthusiasm, and more while empowering teachers to reach out and help. Whether used as a reinforcement or reminder, this book won’t gather dust.

    • By Allen Mendler
    • 69 pages
    • Published in 2000
    • For all levels

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