Are you ready for summer? I love the anticipation of long summer days, with no alarm set in the morning! I can stay up late and read one more chapter, then another. How about you? Are you stacking up books for your summer reading list?
Let me add my suggestions for five books librarians must (should? could? ought to?) read this summer. I’ve got five categories I highly recommend, and you can choose a book from each category for a well-rounded school librarian summer reading list.
A book about reading
Have you read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller? Or its sequel Reading in the Wild? If not, put those on your list. At the very top. I consider these two books to be must-reads for any school librarian. Mrs. Miller speaks eloquently about how we can help students become self-motivated readers, able to choose and enjoy books that are just right for them.
I’ve read both of these several times, and will read them again, but this summer, I’ll be reading a book recommended by Donalyn Miller, called Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters. Authors Kylene Beers and Robert Probst are well known for their excellent work in close reading. This book is about how we can get students more ENGAGED with their reading. I’m looking forward to applying these strategies to help our students become more motivated to read.
A book about teaching
As school librarians, we are teachers, responsible to help students understand concepts they’ll use for the rest of their lives, like research and digital citizenship. Want to get better? Try reading one of these books about best practices in teaching. For myself, I’m deciding between these two highly recommended titles (or maybe I’ll just read both).
Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools is written by Ron Ritchhart, author of Making Thinking Visible. He argues that we must leverage these forces in our school culture: expectations, language, time, modeling, opportunities, routines, interactions, and environment.
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Most Likely To Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era, by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. The authors argue that we need to overhaul education to focus on wonder, creativity, and initiative, on being able to innovate. If you’re looking for evidence to justify allocating library resources to maker spaces, this would be a great summer read for you!
A book about technology
I’ll be reading The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis. A Hyperdoc is an interactive Google Doc that delivers instruction at the student’s pace, creating positive, personalized instruction. Our district provides Google accounts for all teachers and students, and we’re avid users of Google Apps.
I plan to convert many of my library lessons to Hyperdocs next year, and I intend to challenge my students to create their own Hyperdocs. Here’s an example of a Fake News Hyperdoc, so you can see what one looks like.
A current book for children
I always read the books on our Texas Bluebonnet Award list (our children’s choice award) over the summer. When I start back to school, I’ll have great new books to recommend and talk about with our students.
If you’re looking for great new kids’ books to read, here’s a list of ALL the state award lists, in one handy spot! Thank you to author Cynthia Leitich Smith for compiling this list!
As school librarians, we MUST keep current on children’s books. Do you have teachers on your campus who want to read Charlotte’s Web year after year after year? It’s a great book, but we should be ready to recommend current titles to our teachers for read-alouds and curriculum connections. We must be prepared to find the “just right” books for our young readers. Summer is the perfect time to relax and enjoy a fun kids’ book (or several)! And bonus points if you find a treehouse to read them in!
A book for you, just for fun!
I firmly believe that you should indulge in reading just for fun all year long, but especially during the summer when we can stay up late to read “just one more chapter.” Books on my “just for fun” summer reading list include Mr. Rochester, by Sarah Shoemaker (yes, Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester!), The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler (a librarian main character! plus mermaids!), and My Life with Bob (New York Times book review editor Pamela Paul writes about books that have influenced her life).
If you haven’t read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, or Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, I highly recommend those, too!
Lots of great choices, and many summer days ahead of us. Let’s commit to growing as teacher-librarians this summer. Yes, we need to relax and spend time with our families, but I believe we need to read and grow, too!
Let us know in a comment what’s on YOUR summer reading list! I’m always looking for new books to add to that teetering stack on my nightstand!