The 20 Best Education Books Every Teacher and Educator Should Read

  • Post last modified:December 24, 2020
  • Post category:Books

Looking for the best education books? I’ve got you covered.

The list below contains must-read books for teachers, educators, and parents.

Indeed, we all know the importance of education, especially for kids, teens, and young adults. However, there are several issues that hinder the quality of education (poverty, racial inequality, etc.).

Some of the books below tackle several of these issues and offer invaluable advice and solutions.

Some also cover inspiring stories of educators who, against all odds, managed to improve the quality of education for themselves and their students.

In general, these books will provide you with insights and ideas that will stay with you for a long time while revolutionizing the way you think and feel about education.

1. Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire book cover | best education books

Pedagogy of the Oppressed is an excellent book that has inspired millions of teachers, educators, and students.

Its main goal is to open the eyes of readers to education as a practice of freedom as opposed to a practice of domination.

2. Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto

Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto book cover

Dumbing Us Down takes a strong stance on self-directed, lifelong learning while opposing the rigidity and constraints of formal education.

In an ever-changing world, Gatto argues that self-directed learning trumps formal education, which only leads to rule-following and disillusionment.

3. The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols

In a world where the internet provides us with unlimited information, Nichols argues that this very feature of our information era has lead to a rejection of experts, where average citizens believe that no one has more knowledge than anyone else.

He argues against the danger of this kind of thinking and presents the hidden dangers that it presents in our Information Age.

4. How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough book cover

In How Children Succeed, Tough argues that good character traits — such as perseverance, curiosity, self-control — are more important than intelligence or cognitive abilities.

Tough offers a different way for successfully raising kids and preparing them for adulthood.

5. Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol

Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol book cover

In Savage Inequalities, Kozol takes a deep dive into the widening gap between schools for the rich and poor.

The discoveries he makes in the book are staggering and shatter the notion of equal opportunities in America’s schools.

6. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Educated- A Memoir by Tara Westover book cover

This book narrates the story of a young woman who had never stepped into a classroom until she was seventeen.

Born into a family that was isolated from mainstream society, Tara Westover had to fight her way to education, which lead her to Harvard and Cambridge University and across the world.

7. The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley

This book delves into how countries with the best education systems in the world manage to empower their students to their highest potential.

Following the lives of three students studying in foreign countries, Ripley reveals how the top education countries are cultivating smart, young kids who are ready to take on the world.

8. Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck book cover

In Mindset, Dweck reveals that success in every aspect of our lives boils down to one thing: our mindset.

Using decades of research, she offers insights into how we can adopt this idea in our lives and reap the benefits of outstanding achievements and successes.

In this book, Ravitch analyses the state of America’s public school system and criticizes current practices in schools, such as privatization, standardized testing, charter schools, vouchers, and teacher replacement by technology.

It is a must-read for any educator interested in America’s schooling system.

10. The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

In this book, long-time teacher and blogger Donalyn Miller shares her tips on how to encourage and promote reading in kids.

Doing away with conventional wisdom, she encourages teachers to allow students to pick their own books to read, thereby making reading less of a chore and more of a fun thing to do.

Parents and teachers will greatly benefit from The Book Whisperer.

11. Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit

In Other People’s Children, Delpit shares ideas on how teachers can be “cultural transmitters” in classrooms where stereotypes and cultural assumptions do not promote effective teaching and learning.

This book is a must-read for all educators interested in promoting equality in their classrooms.

12. The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong

The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong book cover

The First Days of School is a handbook for preparing teachers, both novice and veteran, in everything they need to do and know for success in the classroom.

Including everything from classroom management to preparing and structuring content for student achievement, The First Days of School is a practical guide that every teacher needs to read.

13. Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell

Educating Esmé chronicles the journey of Esmé Raji Codell in her first year of teaching in a public school in Chicago. Written in a diary form, this book provides a real-life look into what it takes to be an exceptional teacher.

Filled with clever and humble approachers to the classroom, this book is perfect for new teachers looking for advice on classroom success.

14. Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz

Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz book cover

In Excellent Sheep, Deresiewicz argues that elite schools in America are only churning out students who are conformists (sheep) and who have lost the ability to think critically and independently.

With correspondence from real students and graduates, Deresiewicz looks at what is broken in the school system and suggests a way to fix it.

15. Readicide by Kelly Gallagher

Readicide by Kelly Gallagher book cover

In Readicide, Gallagher argues that reading is dying in our schools, and it’s the main job of educators to rectify this problem.

The book offers steps and practices to help teachers and educators reverse the steady decline in reading.

16. Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov

Teach Like a Champion offers 62 techniques that can help teachers and educators strengthen their teaching practice. Indeed, most of these techniques have been gleaned from top teachers all over the world.

17. The Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser

The Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser book cover

The Daily 5 offers educators the best practices to help them spend less time on classroom management and more time doing what matters — teaching. It also offers several other techniques and practices, such as:

  • How to help students develop stamina, independence, and accountability.
  • How to improve student achievement and success in maths and literature.
  • And so much more. 

18. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease book cover

The Read-Aloud Handbook teaches parents and educators how to turn kids into lifelong readers by improving their language skills and developing their imagination.

Armed with anecdotes and years of research, this book offers strategies that will turn any kid, regardless of background or ability, into a lifelong reader.

19. The Freedom Writers Diary by The Freedom Writers

The Freedom Writers Diary by The Freedom Writers book cover

The Freedom Writers Diary is a powerful story of how courage, hard work, and determination changed the lives of one teacher and 150 teenagers.

Indeed, this book is for anyone who believes in the power of second chances.

20. The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein

The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein book cover

In The Teacher Wars, Goldstein revolutionizes the conversation around American education by bringing to bear the lessons of history and comparing them to today’s problems.

By doing this, Goldstein sheds light on the missteps in today’s education system and offers a new, better way forward.

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