Top 10 Tuesday: School Freebie

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about books that are in some way related to school!

With school starting again soon (for students, I’ve already gone back to work!), this is the perfect time to highlight books that are in some way related to school or education. As a teacher, there were several different ways that I could have approached this prompt. Therefore, I’ve decided to break it down into three categories: teaching books, read-aloud books, and required reading. The first two are teacher-centered, whereas the last is focused on the required reading I did as a student. Without further ado, here are my top ten books related to school!

To learn more about a book, click on the photo to find the Goodreads synopsis.

Teaching Books

Teaching books are professional books that I have read to improve my practices as an educator. Here are a few that I have found really helpful!

1. Communication Between Cultures by Larry A. Samovar

Okay, so I actually read this one in college when I was getting my BA in Spanish. However, even though I read it before becoming a teacher, I think back to what I learned from this book all the time as an educator. It was so eye-opening to learn about all the ways cultures are different around the world, and what culture even encompasses. It encompasses everything from community values, communication styles, perception of time, and more. This knowledge has been invaluable to me when communicating with students and families as a teacher.

2. Digital Citizenship in Action: Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities by Kristen Mattson

This short book had some great, practical tips for incorporating and introducing digital citizenship into the classroom. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever that students learn how to be responsible digital citizens! I also really liked how this book pointed out the importance of not only focusing on the dangers or responsibilities when it comes to being online, but also the benefits that can come from using it appropriately.

3. The Translanguaging Classroom: Leveraging Student Bilingualism for Learning by Ofelia García, Susana Ibarra Johnson, and Kate Seltzer

I read this one during the last school year and would highly recommend it to any dual language teachers (or just teachers of bilingual students in general). It really gave me a new perspective on how to support my bilingual students (which is all of them in a dual language classroom), and how the idea of separating the two languages in a dual language program is outdated and doesn’t reflect how the brains of bilingual students work. Being bilingual (or multilingual) is an incredible asset, and this book gives really concrete examples and practical advice on how to harness these amazing skills that so many of our students possess.

Read-Aloud Books

These are some of my favorite books to do as read-alouds in my classroom! I’ve only ever taught 5th and 6th grade, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for any new read-aloud recommendations!

4. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

This is one of my personal favorite books (even as an adult), but it’s also my favorite book to do as a read-aloud. You could maybe do it in fifth grade depending on the maturity of the group, but I’d say it’s definitely a great choice for 6th grade and up. It has themes of growing up that pre-teens really relate to, and it’s impossible not to invest emotionally in the characters and their relationships.

5. Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

I love doing this one at the beginning of the school year. It has great themes about not judging other people without really knowing them, and how it’s okay to be different. It’s also just a really fun story with great characters!

6. Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

This is a quick read if you’re ever in need of a quick read-aloud! It’s about a boy who starts his own lawn-mowing business and ends up making a lot of money, and he ends up getting into some pretty crazy situations along the way! It’s hilarious and fun, and it actually teaches a decent amount about the economy and making money! Kids always love hearing this story about a kid their age starting their own successful business.

Required Reading

Now on to my favorite required reading from when I was a student! That definitely sounds like an oxymoron: favorite required reading? Isn’t required reading usually not enjoyable? That’s definitely the case a lot of the time, but I’ve always loved school and reading, so I really enjoyed getting to branch out and read things that I never would have read otherwise. I actually miss taking English classes sometimes, because now, as an adult, when I read a difficult book that’s out of my comfort zone, I don’t have the benefit of lessons and discussions to help me get the most out of these books!

7. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

This one has always stuck with me because I absolutely hated it when I first started reading it. I remember it had a lot to do with the writing style (which phonetically represented the accent of the main character), which I found very difficult to read. However, by the end, I was so grateful to have read it because it was so moving and empowering.

8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I’ll never forget reading that sad ending for the first time.

9. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This was my first experience with magical realism, and I’ll never forget it!

10. The Stranger by Albert Camus

I wrote an essay on this one for IB English during my junior year of high school. I think that in-depth analysis is what has made this book stay with me for so long. I remember my essay had something to do with Camus’s commentary on human nature through the telling of this story. In general, I remember this book being strange, but at the same time captivating and enlightening.

Have you read any of these books? What would your top ten be?

Let me know in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: School Freebie

  1. Great list! I remember reading Like Water for Chocolate (alongside The House on Mango Street) and how reading them really made me want to try my hand at writing! 😂 I also remember reading Of Mice and Men, one of the few required readings that I *really* enjoyed!


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