Top 5 Recommended Books about Teaching

The Survey Says

Learning is lifelong. That’s what we teach students, so it’s not surprising that it applies to the teaching profession as well. Credential programs are just the start in a long journey to hone our craft of teaching. With the proliferation of E-books, podcasts, videos and audio books, there’s a wealth of inspirational, practical and pedagogical professional development available.

ESGI and ThinkFives surveyed hundreds of teachers to find out what they are reading. Here are the top five books about teaching recommended by other teachers.

First Days of School, Harry Wong

Published in 1997, Harry Wong’s book about the first days of school has become a classic in many teacher education programs. It’s the best selling book on classroom management and teaching with over 4,000,000 copies sold.

The book walks a teacher, either novice or veteran, through structuring and organizing a classroom for success. Part of the appeal of the book is that it offers a common sense, user-friendly and no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level student success.

Harry Wong is an award-winning teacher and motivational speaker whose foundation has funded over 250 student academies in the jungles of Cambodia.

What Teachers are Saying:

  • “This is a great book for teaching at the elementary level with innocent minds. Also there are many good organizational tips.”
  • “This is a wonderful read. His advice is practical and thought-out. Remembering to be intentional with everything you do as an educator can help with most problems that arise in the class.”
  • “If you are a teacher, buy this book. There is so much good advice in this book and loads of ideas for all grade levels to make the classroom run smoothly. My second year teaching was completely wonderful.”

Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, Rafe Esquith

Perhaps the most famous 5th grade teacher in America, Rafe Esquith gives any teacher or parent all the techniques, exercises, and innovations that made this author an education icon.

The book includes everything from personal codes of behavior to tips on tackling literature and algebra. Teaching is an art and a science. The book respects both extremes and includes many tips and tricks for developing students as human beings. It’s practical, motivational and inspirational.

Rafe has taught elementary school for 22 years and has received the National Medal of Arts. In his words, “I hope the people who read this book realize that true excellence takes sacrifice, mistakes, and enormous amounts of effort. After all, there are no shortcuts period.”

What Teachers are Saying:

  • “If you find yourself with a group of humans in front of you, you need this book. Few teachers are natural and this book helps all those normal people keep their classes engaged period.”
  • “Rafe concentrates on developing his students as human beings. All the subjects he teaches are geared toward developing character which allows a student to excel in all subjects.”
  • “Insightful, fun read that will improve your teaching. Out-of-the box thinking for the enthusiastic teacher.”

Teach Like a Champion, Doug Lemov

Teach Like a Champion is Doug Lemov’s highly-regarded guide to the craft of teaching. The book teaches you how to create a positive and productive classroom that encourages student engagement, trust, respect, accountability and excellence.

This teaching guide is a must-have for new and experienced teachers. With ideas for everything from boosting academic rigor to improving classroom management and inspiring student engagement, you’ll be able to strengthen your teaching practice right away.

As well as an international bestselling author, Doug Lemov is a speaker and managing director of the Teach Like a Champion team

What Teachers are Saying:

  • “Lemov has written a masterpiece on effective and efficient pedagogy. He delivers ample examples both in writing and video to show us how to practically teach students to read and write.”
  • “I read Teach Like a Champion and thought, ‘wow, inspiring’ and that there could not be another book that is as inspiring as this. Then I read Teach Like a Champion 2.0 and was literally blown away.”
  • “I’ve taught for a lot of years doing things the way I learned long ago. The old ways didn’t work anymore. This book is the culture in my classroom. The students are happier, I am happier, and grades are higher.”

Teach Like a Pirate, Dave Burgess

Who wouldn’t want to teach like a pirate? This book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help teachers increase student engagement, boost creativity and transform the lives of educators.

The book is based on the ‘Teach Like a Pirate’ system that’s been developed to help teachers become wildly engaging in their classroom and more fulfilled in their profession. It includes a comprehensive section on exactly how to craft and design lessons that are irresistible to students.

Dave Burgess is a highly sought after professional development speaker known for a creative, entertaining and outrageously energetic style.  He’s an award winning history teacher in San Diego where he’s taught for 16 years, specializing in teaching hard-to-reach and hard-to-motivate students.

What Teachers are Saying:

  • “This five-star book is an amazing tool to implement in your classroom. He has inspired me to learn more about neuropsychology, how learning takes place in the brain, and education overall.”
  • “I have been pushed to really analyze and reflect upon my teaching practices. I’ve been challenged with the question: Do I want to be mediocre or great?”
  • “As an educator just beginning my career, this book was an awesome engaging read on how to empower your classroom.”

The Reading Strategies Book, Jennifer Serravallo

In The Reading Strategies Book Jennifer collects 300 strategies to share with teachers in support of everything from fluency to literary analysis. Each strategy is cross-linked to skills, genres and reading levels.

With the help of this book, Serravallo believes you can develop goals for every reader, give students step-by-step strategies for skilled reading and guide readers with prompts aligned to strategies. She believes strategies are what make the often invisible work of reading actionable and visible.

She is also the author of other popular professional development books. She began her career in education as a New York City public school teacher before joining the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University.

What Teachers are Saying:

  • “Excellent book. The book is an invaluable resource for any teacher. It shows step-by-step how to teach hundreds of strategies for reading improvements.”
  • “This amazing, must-have book is a dream come true for anyone who teaches reading. It is like no other book I’ve ever read or owned about literacy.”
  • “One of the only teaching books that really is useful as a platform to inspire teaching and to have a stock of useful ideas that are tried and tested. Huge book!”

What education books would you recommend to other teachers?


  1. I loved The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. As educators we need to change and adapt. I think I need to reread this book!

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