ASCD Summer Reading List Identifies 10 Books That Can Transform Teaching and Learning

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In the spirit of promoting year-round professional development, ASCD has assembled a diverse list of books essential to educators who seek to improve their practice over the summer months. ASCD is the global leader in providing programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner.

These books—organized by how they help educators transform teaching and learning—offer readers the opportunity to dive deep into the hottest topics in education, including using data to focus improvement, project-based learning, child development, and neurodiversity. All books are currently available in paperback and e-book formats.

Focus on Results

  1. Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom—Veteran teacher Mark Barnes walks middle and high school teachers through fundamentals of results-only learning, which eliminates traditional practices of homework, worksheets, tests, and grades and replaces them with student-driven, yearlong projects.
  2. Using Data to Focus Instructional Improvement—Experienced educators Cheryl James-Ward,Douglas FisherNancy Frey, and Diane Lapp offer simple instructions that help focus school improvement efforts and result in increased teacher expertise.

Expand a Crucial Skill Set

  1. Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding—The creators of the Understanding by Design® framework, Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, provide practical guidance on how to design, initiate, and embed inquiry-based teaching and learning in the classroom.
  2. Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life—Best-selling author Thomas Armstrong argues that we should embrace strengths of students with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders.
  3. Assignments Matter: Making the Connections That Help Students Meet Standards—Seasoned teacher coach and curriculum design expert Eleanor Dougherty demystifies and streamlines assignment-making and helps educators prepare for the Common Core State Standards.

Get Inspired

  1. Overcoming Textbook Fatigue: 21st Century Tools to Revitalize Teaching and LearningReLeah Cossett Lent, former educator and founding member of a statewide literacy project, shows how to reclaim the curriculum by shifting the textbook from sole source to resource.
  2. When Teaching Gets Tough: Smart Ways to Reclaim Your Game—Seasoned educator Allen N. Mendler shares accessible tips to use when challenged by different aspects of teaching: working with difficult students, feeling underappreciated, and beyond.

Translate Research into Practice

  1. Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom—Cognitive psychology expert Wendy L. Ostroff offers a developmental science approach to key components of children's learning—motivation, attention, memory, cognition, and action.

Examine Practices from Top Education Systems

  1. A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation—International education expert Vivien Stewart shares best practices for developing and maintaining high-quality teaching skills and discusses the implications of global trends.

Sharpen Leadership Skills

  1. 100+ Ways to Recognize and Reward Your School Staff—Former superintendent Emily E. Houckprovides school administrators with practical, easy-to-use, and inexpensive ways to reward and recognize the efforts of their staff.

"We've released this list of highly effective books to help educators—from first year to veteran—revolutionize and enhance their practice for the benefit of all future students," said ASCD Executive Director and CEO Dr. Gene R. Carter.

For more information about ASCD, visit To learn more about our books program or to read sample chapters from past books, visit