Starting your teaching career is fun, yet complicated. Your first few years will be spent settling into your classroom, spending late nights on Pinterest, and constantly thinking “Am I doing this right?”
Whether you’re entering an empty classroom or trying to manage some sticky behaviors, there’s a book out there to help you. I’ve narrowed down my long list to the 6 must-read books for student teachers and first year teachers. I hope this list saves you time so you’re prepared to rock your time as a new teacher!
Your First Year: How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher
• Teacher’s Field Guide: 7 Truths About Teaching to Help You Start off Strong, Avoid Burnout, and Stay in Love with Teaching
• The First Six Weeks of School
• The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher (Book & DVD)
• Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids: (and the rest of your class, too!)
• The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers
• Number Talks: Whole Number Computation, Grades K-5
The Teacher Version of “What To Expect”
1. Your First Year: How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher
This book is essential for: bite-sized advice for situations you’ll encounter as a new teacher.
This book was published last year and I borrowed it from a new teacher at my school. It’s the shortest book on the list and is a good book to read while student teaching or the summer before your first year. It touches the surface of basically every aspect of what being a first year teacher entails so you know what to expect. Read this one first for background information on what the other books take a deeper dive into.
The Best Book for Work/Life Balance
This book is essential for: avoiding burnout in your first few years.
This book is a new release that I wish existed during my first year! The author is a US Senate recognized Master Teacher who knows her stuff. I read this cover-to-cover in two days and couldn’t put it down. It has a lot of graphs, infographics, and doodles that make it a pleasurable read. The biggest game changer for me was a section about recognizing and preventing burnout before it occurs.
Schedules and Lesson Plans for the First Month of School
This book is essential for: planning and executing the first few weeks of school.
I used this book word-for-word during my first two years of teaching. Now, I still use it as a skeleton and give myself a little more freedom to suit my needs. It’s basically the teaching bible. It plans the first six weeks for K-5 down to the minute! Even if you have set curriculum, it will prevent situations you never saw coming, like their first adventure with scissors. It also has insanely good advice for teaching procedures for centers!
The Ultimate Guide of Procedures and Routines
The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher (Book & DVD)
This book is essential for: ensuring you have all bases covered Day 1.
This book was given to me by my district my first year AND by an experienced teacher in another district. Ask any great teacher, and they’ve read this book. It may look “old school” but don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s solid, practical advice without the fluff.
The Best Book for Behavior Management
This book is essential for: managing tricky behaviors.
Behavior management is my least favorite part of teaching. This book has really helped me minimize problematic behaviors that arise during the school day and every year it slowly gets better. I especially recommend this to anyone who has a student with an emotional/behavioral impairment.
The Best Book for Teaching Reading
This book is essential for: engaging readers and increasing test scores.
I love this book because it has a wide variety of lesson plans for kids at all levels. I use this along with Jan Richardson’s guided reading books since I teach at a school with a Scholastic leveled book room. This is based on Fountas and Pinnell reading levels, so if your school uses DRA, Scholastic Guided Reading, or Lexile levels be sure to use a conversion chart.
The Best Book for Teaching Writing
This book is essential for: explaining why modeling is critical for writing, and providing steps for instruction.
Before attending Kelly Boswell’s PD in person, I was teaching all wrong. I would pre-write samples and show the kids. Kelly’s book provides concrete steps for modeling every step of the writing process with kids, so they understand what a writer’s thought process looks like. She also recently published Write This Way from the Start: The First 15 Days of Writer’s Workshop (Capstone Professional: Maupin House), which I’m dying to get my hands on!
The Best Book for Teaching Math
This book is essential for: developing strong number sense for K-5 learners.
This book is pricy, but honestly so critical for math instruction. It includes videos and step-by-steps of introducing pretty much any math lesson you’ll ever teach. It even gives you sample problems to get you through your first few days of lesson plans on a topic. It has made planning for math SO much easier, even with our district’s scripted curriculum. There’s also a rental option if you just want to try it out a few times in the classroom!
Thanks for reading! If you have any other suggestions of titles for new teachers, please comment with the title! I’m always looking for new books to read and improve my instruction, and I especially love ones that I can share with other teachers!