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Top 5 Summer Reads to Prepare for Back to School | That Music Teacher

Top 5 Summer Reads to Prepare for Back to School

educational tips music class resources music teachers Jun 29, 2021


      Happy summer, teacher friends! I hope you are finding time for yourself and enjoying activities that help you recharge. For many of us, relaxing includes curling up with a good book, whether that’s on your couch, at the beach, or anywhere between. If you’re like me, summer is the perfect time to catch up on any reading you didn’t have time for while teaching. Here are 5 books to help you prepare for the upcoming school year! 


1. The Music Advantage by Dr. Anita Collins 


      This one has been on my list since I saw a few reviews of it on Instagram. Dr. Collins is an expert in cognitive development and music education. You may recognize her from the TED-Ed talk “How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain.” In The Music Advantage, she discusses how music benefits childhood development, whether it be simply clapping in time or a full-on formal music education. We all know that music is beneficial for children, and this book can give us a more in-depth on the specifics on the hows! 

2. Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden


      Not wanting to use too much brain power over your well-deserved summer break? No worries! Adequate Yearly Progress is a novel about teachers at Brae Hill Valley High School in Texas. It doesn’t follow any music teachers, but I still found myself laughing out loud several times as the characters found themselves in familiar and relatable situations. It reads almost like a reality show at times, which is perfect for a beach- or pool-side read! 

3. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho


      Are you wanting to continue learning how to de-center Eurocentric views in different aspects of your life? Or maybe you’re still stuck about how systemic racism works and what to do about it? What started as a YouTube series is now a highly anticipated book that acts as a guide for Americans wanting to learn about the realties of systemic racism, but who may not know where to start. Along with this book is also a children’s version, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy, gearing the conversation toward younger readers.

4. Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE, and Other Special Areas


      This is another one that I’ve had on my radar for a while now. My school, particularly the Elementary division (grades 2 - 5 in our school), utilizes Responsive Classroom practices to help support our students. Essentially, Responsive Classroom tries to focus on the correlation between academic success and social-emotional skills, and helps schools foster safe and positive classroom environments. This book offers suggestions specifically for teachers outside of the homeroom classrooms, including music! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book.

5. That one book that’s been on your list for too long!


      Look, I get it. It’s summer! You don’t want to spend your time thinking about school. No shame in that, my friend. If you sometimes feel guilty taking time for yourself (really, I’m talking to myself here!), take this as a sign to do it! You have my explicit permission to read that book that you’ve been meaning to get around to, but never found the time for. My “To Read” list is a mile long at this point, but I think I’m going to make time to finally read Good Omens


      There you have it! I hope this list gave you some ideas of books to help you prepare for the upcoming school year. Yes, novels can help you prepare, even if they’re not specifically about education. Taking care of yourself helps you give your best self to your students! What are you reading this summer? Let us know! 


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. When you purchase through these links we receive a small commission, but no cost is added to your purchase.

This article was submitted by Rachel Ammons contributing author for Interested in becoming a contributing author? Email resume and writing sample to [email protected]


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