The 50 Best Books For Teachers

View a poster version of the Top 50 Books For Teachers

There are few jobs more courageous than becoming a teacher. Not only are the hours long and the pay not that great, but teachers also have to come up with their own inspiring lesson plans, schedules, and homework. This is all before even entering the classroom, and as any veteran teacher will tell you, it’s best to expect the unexpected in that area. Teachers will encounter bullying, disrespect, frustration, joy, love, and triumph during their career. It’s a job for which no college class can fully prepare anyone. Fortunately, there are hundreds of books written by real teachers that share real stories, tips, tricks, and motivation that will make the transition from college campus to primary or secondary school teacher that much easier. The following 50 books about teaching cover everything from lessen plans to teacher appreciation, and while certain books may be better suited for different grade levels, all are considered some of the finest in their particular area.

50. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Communicating with children may seem easy enough, but when a teacher has 30 new faces looking back at them, they’ll be glad they read this book. While the book was originally designed for parents, it’s become a teacher’s guide on how properly to instruct children in the classroom so they’ll listen better and pay attention.


49. 99 Ways to Get Kids to Love Writing: And 10 Easy Tips for Teaching Them Grammar by Mary Leonhardt

Writing is an important skill, but few teachers teach it well enough so the child will actually want to continue doing it on their own. In this book, Mary Leonhardt explains how teachers can start encouraging writing for children as young as preschool age. For higher up grade levels, the book also explains easy ways to make grammar fun rather than frustrating.


48. How to Teach a Love of Reading Without Getting Fired by Mary Leonhardt

Those who teach teenagers will quickly learn that you can’t make them do anything they don’t want to… or can you? This book provides teachers with dozens of suggestions to help increase reading and promote classroom discussion among older students. Best of all, it can all be done through fun classroom lessens rather than punishments or extra homework.


47. The Cooperative Classroom: Empowering Learning by Lynda A. Baloche

Cooperation is key in any job, but even more so when teaching a large group of students. While this book was originally designed for those teaching teenagers, it can easily be applied to all grade levels. The book explains in detail why, how, and when cooperation should be used to improve the classroom experience.


46. Why Johnny Still Can’t Read by Rudolf Franz Flesch

While this book wasn’t specifically designed for teachers, it includes detailed exercises on phonics, reading, and sight words that has been helpful in many classrooms. Since this book helps teachers help those who are having trouble reading, it’s recommended for those teaching younger grades.


45. Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don’t: How It Happens and What You Can Do About It by Mary Leonhardt

This is another book that was designed more for parents but provides teachers with valuable insight into the mind of a child. The book explains that the reason most children don’t like reading is because teachers put too much emphasis on it. By stepping back and taking a much more relaxed approach to reading, teachers are able to get their entire classroom enjoying more books.


44. Managing the Adolescent Classroom: Lessons From Outstanding Teachers by Glenda Beamon Crawford

Teaching adolescents requires a completely different method than teaching younger children. These students now have a mind of their own which can sometimes lead to trouble in the classroom. Fortunately, this book provides teachers with 14 different studies, examples, and behavioral techniques that will improve the classroom environment dramatically.


43. Why Are All the Good Teachers Crazy? by Frank Stepnowski

For those looking for an honest idea of what the teaching profession is like, this book is a must read. Not only are the blunt observations refreshing, but the book is also considered to be one of the funniest reads about the teaching career path. The book shares several true stories about classroom antics, all while reminding the reader that despite it all, teachers can still have fun at their job.


42. A Handbook for Beginning Teachers by Robert E. MacDonald

For those who are looking for a single book that covers just about everything imaginable, this manual is perfect. The handbook includes everything from popular teaching methods to what rookies can expect during their first few months on the job. It also covers more recent topics, such as the use of technology in the classroom.


41. 99 Ways to Get Your Kids To Do Their Homework (And Not Hate It) by Mary Leonhardt

Wouldn’t it be great if students always did their homework? That’s the exact idea behind Mary Leonhardt’s book for teachers and parents. While students will certainly never love doing homework, the book does provide many methods on how to make the process as painless as possible. It also helps teach children, parents, and even teachers how to develop a healthy attitude in regards to all schoolwork.


40. The Art of Classroom Inquiry: A Handbook for Teacher-Researchers by Ruth Shagoury Hubbard and Brenda Miller Power

This book was considered groundbreaking when it was first published because it was one of the first books that gave readers a glimpse into the life of both teacher and student. Chapters cover everything from a teachers first day on the job to veteran educators who are considering retirement.


39. Conflict Resolution in the High School: 36 Lessons by Linda Lantieri

While high school can be a wonderful experience to some, the average teenager will experience bullying, taunting, and tormenting on a daily basis. Not only do these actions disrupt the classroom, but they can also cause grades to drop and further problems to develop. Fortunately, this book covers not only how to stop bullying, but also how to address the problems before they turn into negative classroom behavior.


38. The Power of Questions: A Guide to Teacher and Student Research by Beverly Falk and Megan Blumenreich

Many teachers teach their students why things are the way they are, but few dare to teach their pupils to question why that is. While blindly following the facts will certainly result in good grades, teaching children to question everything they learn will help them continue to grow long after graduating. This book explains the importance of asking questions both for educational purposes and for personal growth.


37. 99 Ways to Get Kids to Love Reading: And 100 Books They’ll Love by Mary Leonhardt

After teaching for over 30 years, author Mary Leonhardt has learned a thing or two about reading. Regardless of whether teachers are just beginning or have been at their job for decades, this book provides dozens of tips that will turn the entire classroom into avid readers before the end of the year. Even better, the book also includes a list of the top 100 stories that children are guaranteed to enjoy. This makes it a must for any teacher planning to have their own classroom library.


36. Teaching Stories by Judy Logan

It can be challenging for a beginning teacher to imagine how their life will be 30 years from now, but they can get an idea thanks to Teaching Stories by Judy Logan. The book is written in a series of short essays that are designed to inspire and motivate teachers to do their best and have fun while doing so. The book describes the daily challenges, choices, joys, frustrations, and conflicts that teachers will face throughout their lives. It also discusses the students that went on to graduate, win awards, and believe in themselves thanks to the dedication of their teachers.


35. Inside Mrs. B.’s Classroom : Courage, Hope, and Learning on Chicago’s South Side by Leslie Baldacci

When teachers start out, they believe they have a general idea of what to expect. Then, after teaching for a few years, they look back and realize they didn’t have a clue what they were getting into. That’s exactly what happened to Mrs. B when she decided to quit her job and take up teaching in one of the roughest schools in Chicago. This book tells the inspiring story of how one teacher can set out to make a difference, and against all odds, succeed.


34. Among Schoolchildren by Tracy Kidder

Imagine spending an entire school year watching and observing what goes on in your typical 5th grade class. That’s exactly what Tracy Kidder did, and this book includes a detailed account of what he experienced. From joys to disappointment, everything is captured in this revealing book. While much has changed in the educational system since it was published, it still offers soon-to-be teachers a glimpse of what their life will soon be like.


33. What Makes a Good Teacher? Here`s What the Kids Say! by Donna Whyte

While most of the books on this list are serious, this one is a lighthearted read that makes a great addition to any classroom. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how well teachers taught, it’s the little things that children will remember. Those real life details are shared in this 32-page book, making it a perfect read for story time.


32. The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons by Robert Mankoff

Teachers work late hours grading paper and preparing future lesson plans. This can make reading books challenging, but that’s not a problem with “The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons.” The book contains 118 comic cartoons all relating to teaching. Not only is it lighthearted and easy to read, but it also makes a great addition to any teacher break room.


31. The Art of Teaching by Gilbert Highet

Gilbert Highet began teaching students in the early 1930s and retired in the late 1970s. While teaching has certainly changed since then, this book gives all teachers, new and old, a glimpse of how some things really are timeless. The book operates on the basis that teaching is a fine art that must be perfected over the years. Each teacher has their own unique style, but once that style has been found, it can be sculpted into something that has the power to change the world.


30. Teachers Jokes Quotes And Anecdotes by Stark Books

Just because teachers are educating the young minds of tomorrow doesn’t mean they can’t have some fun while doing so. This book reminds teachers that, while their jobs are important, it’s also important to take the time to laugh at yourself. The book includes several jokes, quotes, and other funny reading material that is sure to help lighten the mood of the reader.


29. Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students By Their Brains by LouAnne Johnson

The best teachers are the ones that make learning fun. This may seem like a simple enough concept, but when educators are attempting to teach their fourth grade class their multiplication tables, it can seem impossible. That’s where this book comes in handy. Regardless of the lesson plan, it includes many unique methods to engage the classroom in fun learning.


28. Positive Discipline in the Classroom: Developing Mutual Respect, Cooperation, and Responsibility in Your Classroom by Jane Nelsen

While most teachers do a great job of educating their students, there will always be a few that are known as “the mean one” to students everywhere. This decision may be based on homework load, attitude, or for simply no real reason at all. Whatever the reason, this book helps teachers develop mutual respect with their students. Children will no longer be viewing their educator as “the mean one” but as “the reasonable one,” and really, that’s what every teacher wants.


27. Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov

The ultimate goal of a teacher is to see their students succeed in life. It can be a challenge to spend so much time with a classroom, only to send them on their way at the end of the year never knowing what their future may hold. While this book doesn’t guarantee that every student that’s taught will go on to complete college and live a successful life, it does include simple, yet effective, teaching techniques that will help increase the likelihood dramatically.


26. Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade by Linda Perlstein

The No Child Left Behind bill remains controversial to this day, but regardless of political views, the act remains a part of educational history. The story this book tells takes place shortly after the bill was passed in an attempt to find out if the school systems work better or worse under the new rules. The book includes first-hand details of a once failing school in an attempt to deliver an unbiased and thought-provoking view of the new policies.


25. 101 Great Classroom Games: Easy Ways to Get Your Students Playing, Laughing, and Learning by Alexis Ludewig and Dr. Amy Swan

Wouldn’t it be great if students looked forward to coming to school each morning? While that probably won’t ever happen, this book does a great job of providing fun activities that children will actually look forward to. With games such as Geography Baseball and Bull’s-Eye Feather Math, students will learn important skills while having a blast doing it. Even better, the games are scored based on noise level. This means that teachers will be able to have an educational, fun, and quiet day. Even first-time teachers can surely appreciate the benefits of including this book in their lesson plan.


24. What If There Were No Teachers? by Caron Chandler Loveless

Teachers are expected to work long hours with little pay all so they can help the students they teach. More often than not, however, the students are too younger to understand all the work that goes into this career choice. When things start to get frustrating, teachers can pull out this 48-page book to read to their classroom. The story describes another world where teachers don’t exist. The world is sad at first, but as the story goes on, it becomes much more uplifting thanks to the kind hearts of teachers.


23. The Animal School by George Reavis

There will come a time when teachers feel like they’re managing a zoo, but what if they actually were? That’s exactly what happens in this children’s book. Not only is the book a cute story for younger children, but it also gives teachers a chance to explain to their class that just because you’re not the best at one thing doesn’t mean you won’t excel in another.


22. Stories from a Teacher by J. Flores

Jonathan Flores became one of the youngest and most favored teachers at his school. He taught with a high level of enthusiasm and dedication that all his students fell in love with. Then, after only four years of teaching, he quit suddenly. In this book, he shares his stories, some hilarious and some heartbreaking, about exactly what it’s like to be a teacher in today’s world.


21. See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers by Roxanna Elden

There will come a point in ever teacher’s career where they think if they teach another day, they’ll surely go crazy. This book recognizes that, yes, that will happen, but it’s not always a bad thing. Teachers will get a wide range of advice mixed with humor, sarcasm, and reality when reading this book.


20. Reluctant Disciplinarian: Advice on Classroom Management from a Softy Who Became (Eventually) a Successful Teacher by Gary Rubinstein

Nearly all educators become teachers because they want to help others. This is a great reason, but unfortunately, it’s not enough. As teachers help their students learn, they must also have firm rules and discipline in place should things get out of control. This was a challenge for one teacher. After a horrendous first year, he set off to write a book so no future educator would ever make his same mistakes.


19. Science Workshop: Reading, Writing, and Thinking Like a Scientist by Wendy Saul

We live in an age where math, technology, and English trumps over nearly every other school subject. Only at the very bottom of the pile, buried someone between Sex ED and foreign language, is science. This is especially true for younger children who enter middle school without the basic knowledge of how the universe works. What is even worse about this is that science is arguably one of the coolest subjects there is. Every child loves learning about the planets or how an egg transforms into a chicken, yet most teachers skip right over this to focus on other subjects. For those who are looking to embrace science, this book does a fantastic job of inspiring dozens of fun lessen plans that can be tied in with other subjects.


18. Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith

For teachers who have ever wondered if they can make a difference, this book is a must read. The story takes place in California, in a neighborhood where guns, gangs, drugs, and violence are a regular occurrence both on the street and in the hallways. One teacher, Rafe Esquith, is given the task of teaching a class of fifth grade immigrants who only have a basic understanding of English. Despite this, these students achieve some of the highest standardized test scores in the country. Based on a true story, this book is sure to inspire anyone.


17. Why Didn’t I Learn This in College? by Paula Rutherford

Attending college will give future teachers a lot of the skills they need to succeed, but there’s much more to learn than just that. This book was written based on the Teacher Alternative Preparation Program that is used in Georgia. In the program, experienced teacher mentor the new comers in an attempt to teach them everything that wasn’t covered in college. The book includes dozens of tips ranging from what to expect at a teacher conference to how to best interact with student’s parents.


16. If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers by Neila A. Connors

This book is one of the many others that is filled to the brim with inspiration, wisdom, tips, techniques, and more. What sets it apart from other books is that it gives readers a dose of humor that is much needed when facing each problem.


15. Social Studies in Elementary Education by Walter C. Parker

In the past, many elementary school teachers didn’t teach their students social studies or history. The basics were cover, but the bulk of these subject were reserved for high school or middle school students. For those who are looking to give their class a head start on the subject, this book is the ideal match. It includes dozens of age appropriate teaching material that covers government, geography, pedagogy, and more.


14. Growing Mathematical Ideas in Kindergarten by Linda Schulman Dacey

If you ask a person what school subject they struggled with the most, the majority will say math. While teaching math in kindergarten may not seem hard, it’s still extremely challenging for the students who are just now learning how to count and write. This book recognizes these challenges and helps to educate teachers on the best way to nurture and improve those skills.


13. You Know You’re a Teacher if… by Char Forsten

While this isn’t the typical ‘teaching book,’ it does give both rookie and veteran teachers a quick reminder of why they decided to become educators. The book, which is only 38 pages, gives several quirky examples of the unique mindset that only teachers posses. It’s also a simple enough read that younger children can follow along, making it the perfect story time book.


12. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales: 101 Inspirational Stories from Great Teachers and Appreciative Students by Jack Canfield, Mark Victorhansen, and Amy Newmark

As children grow and learn, there will always be that one special teacher that touches their life more than anyone else. Often times teachers don’t realize that they’ve made such a big impact, but it is something that the student is unable to forget. These are the stories that are told in this book. Whether teachers think they’ve made a difference or not, this book is a great reminder that there are students out there who appreciate everything their teacher does.


11. Little Critter: The Best Teacher Ever by Mercer Mayer

Imagine having the best teacher in the whole world. A teacher that is so good that they even make math class fun! That’s exactly what happens in this book, the only problem is now Little Critter has to find his teacher the perfect gift to show his appreciation. This book is only 24-pages, making it perfect for teachers to read to their preschoolers or kindergarten classes. Best of all, the moral is to appreciate others for all that they do.


10. The Substitute Teacher’s Organizer: A Comprehensive Resource to Make Every Teaching Assignment a Success; Grades K-6 by Jane Herbst

Even if teachers never intend to substitute, it’s always a good idea to have a plan just in case. Not only does this book provide dozens of tips, but also lessen plans that are designed to be photocopied on the go. For those who plan to sub often, it also includes tips on how to keep multiple lesson plans organized while also recording the daily classroom activities. Even for teachers who don’t sub, this book is perfect to pass along should they find themselves sick and unable to teach the class themselves.


9. School: The Story of American Public Education by Sarah Mondale

While not a book you’ll see in most school libraries, this gives readers a look back on the educational system and how the whole thing started. The book includes information on the founding fathers of education, their hopes, dreams, and what has been accomplished since. While this book doesn’t necessarily cover teaching topics directly, it provides readers with an in depth look at just how important and life changing the school system can be.


8. Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year by Esmé Raji Codell

Wouldn’t it be great if teachers knew exactly what they were facing before starting their first year? While that’s not entirely possible, this book shares the journey of a first time teacher and her struggles to be the best for her students. The book reads as a dairy, giving newcomers an honest glance inside the world of a teacher.


7. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer

Nearly everyone who becomes a teacher does so because they want to help children learn. There’s a lot of passion, love, dedication, and courage that goes into the decision to become a teacher, but unfortunately, many people lose sight of this over time. This book helps teachers to take a step back and reconnecting with themselves. It’s easy to get frustrated in the hustle and bustle of teaching, but this book helps remind teachers that, as long as their heart is still in it, their students will shine.


6. Fred Jones Tools for Teaching: Discipline, Instruction, Motivation by Patrick Jones

Any teacher can be good, but this book shares the skills that make teachers exceptional. Whether it’s by motivating the classroom, reducing bullying, increasing grades, holding fun-raisers, or just making learning fun, this book covers all that and more.


5. The Teacher’s Book of Wit: Quips, Quotes & Anecdotes to Make Learning More Fun by Mark Ortman

While teaching is an important job, sometimes it’s important to take a step back and laugh. All teachers will experience their fair share of frustration, anger, confusion, joy, and sorrow before they retire. This book pokes fun at all those experiences by offering hundreds of quotes and observations taken from everyday life. The book categories these laughs into over 60 different sections, including everything from mathematics to sexual education. While you don’t have to be a teacher to enjoy this book, those who are will find it particularly amusing.


4. Growing Minds by Herbert R. Kohl

Herbert Kohl is known as one of the most influential educators in America and for good reason. His philosophy is that, in order to be a good teacher, teachers must become involved in the life of the student rather than just the lesson plans. He goes on to explain exactly how to do this in his 192-page guide. The guide also includes amusing stories, practical tips, and inspirational content that all teachers are sure to love.


3. The First Days Of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher by Harry K. Wong

They say first impressions are important, and for teachers, it can make or break the school year. This book acts as a guide for rookie teachers and covers everything from kindergarten to college. There are hundreds of teaching ideas, tactics, techniques, and projects, but the real reason the book is so popular is because it allows teachers to blossom. Because the book acts as a guide, it allows teachers to form their own teaching style and grow and learn just as their students do.


2. Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach by Tom Vander Ark, Parker J. Palmer, and Sam M. Intrator

There’s something extra special about poetry. Whether it’s the way the words rhyme or the beats in each phrase, poetry has long been considered an art that is both healing and inspiring. Teaching isn’t an easy job, but when things get to be frustrating, everyone should have this book on their desk to help remind them why they are there.


1. The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide: Ready-To-Use Strategies, Tools & Activities for Meeting the Challenges of Each School Day by Julia G. Thompson

While there are a lot of useful books that beginning teachers will read, “The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide” may just be the best. The book includes tested tips, tools, strategies, activities, and more that teacher all across America have been using in their classroom. This include everything from learning how to properly connect with students to how to handle every behavioral problem imaginable. The book has also recently been updated to include more modernized tips, such as how to create a teaching schedule while working in a year-round environment or which educational websites and software are the best to incorporate in the classroom.

The book was originally designed for first-time teachers who are looking for an idea of what to expect and how to cope with their first school year. That being said, even teachers who have been at the job for decades stated that they found the book to be extremely helpful and filled with valuable information.

View a poster version of the Top 50 Books For Teachers