Young woman reading the book at riverside in the evening.Summer break is a wonderful time to catch up with friends, sleep, and to tackle those books piling up on your nightstand!

With the dog days of summer ahead, there’s still plenty of time to curl up with a good book. If you’re looking for something good to read — you’re in luck. We asked some of our PLS instructors and team members to share some of their favorite books with you. The following are some of our recommendations ranging from books on education and teaching best practices to historical fiction, and today’s culture and how it impacts our students.

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PLS Instructor Shawn Robbins recommends…

The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, by George Couros

This book is really an extension of the Growth Mindset and how we are using that to promote student achievement in our schools today. The focus rests on how we can change school climates. I highly recommend this book to teachers who are tired of the “same old, same old” and want to experience a positive change with their students.


Book cover180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle

Teachers everywhere know how much we need to balance what we teach and why we teach it. This book outlines practices by two successful educators and authors to “fit” content into one school year. I especially recommend this book to ELA teachers who want to have a balanced approach to reading, writing, listening and speaking.


Book coverDisrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst

Beers and Probst are the authors of the popular close reading strategy known as Notice and Note. The text focuses on the readers we see in our classrooms today and the readers we want to see in our classrooms tomorrow. They utilize the book, Head, Heart (BHH) Framework to encourage students to actively read books for pleasure and school.

PLS Instructor Judy Lalli recommends….

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A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

For those who enjoy learning about art, artists, relationships — this is a fictionalized account of the subject of the Andrew Wyeth painting “Christina’s World.” If you love art and history or historical fiction, this one’s for you.

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The Circle by Dave Eggers

If you’re interested in the benefits and risks of our new age of technology, then you don’t want to miss out on this book. Amazon describes The Circle as, “A best selling dystopian novel that tackles surveillance, privacy and the frightening intrusions of technology in our lives.”

The PLS Team Recommends….

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Wonder by RJ Palacio

If you missed the book or the movie, this is a must read! Wonder is an inspiring story of a loving family whose son, born with facial differences, enters a mainstream school for the first time. The story has some amazing precepts (sayings) that may be worth hanging in a classroom including, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” This might also be an incredible book to read aloud in your classroom or to assign as reading group material.

Book coverPlay by Stuart Brown, M.D

According to Stuart Brown, M.D., we have lost something in our society and that is the importance of play. Real play increases creativity, as it allows us to take more risks and be bold. Our problem-solving that is needed for today’s world needs play more than ever. This is a must read for educators, parents, and those whom are concerned with our future.

Bonus Recommendation

Book coverOur summer reading book list from PLS would be complete without featuring our very own Steve Barkely. WOW! Adding Pizzazz to Teaching and Learning shows you how to make school experiences so outstanding that students, parents, and colleagues say, “WOW!

Do you have any books to recommend that aren’t on our list?

Please share your feedback on any of the books or recommend your own in the comments section below.

All book covers courtesy of and fall under fair use for educational purposes.

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