Recommended Reads: 8 Education Books for Your Summer Reading List

Before the Brookes blog starts its brief summer break, we wanted to spotlight some great books you might want to add to your professional development reading list before the new school year starts. Developed by expert authors, these books offer guidance, insight, and inspiration on critical topics like inclusion, UDL, social-emotional learning, dual language learners, and trauma-informed instruction.

We hope you’ll find a book here (or two, or three!) to enhance the work you’re already doing to support the learning, development, and wellbeing of every child you work with.

Reimagining Special Education

Using Inclusion as a Framework to Build Equity and Support All Students

By Jenna M. Rufo, Ed.D., & Julie Causton, Ph.D.

Perfect for: K-12 teachers in search of a visionary guide to creating more equitable schools and services, addressing each student’s unique needs, and bridging learning gaps for students who struggle. The vignettes and anecdotes throughout will spark lightbulb moments for educators.

Rave review: “Rufo and Causton have found the brightest silver lining of the global pandemic: An opportunity to reimagine special education services. Each chapter contains valuable tips and practical tools to do just this.”—Jennifer Kurth, University of Kansas


A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs, and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School

By Howard C. Shane, Ph.D.

Perfect for: Everyone who works with or cares about a student with a disability. This is a spellbinding, truly inspiring memoir of a young teacher who makes a difference at the bleak Belchertown State School in the late 1960s. His instinctive approach to inclusion and differentiation will resonate with today’s educators—and it’s a fast, addictive read.

Rave review: “A jaw-dropping reminder of how far we have come in educating individuals with disabilities and how much further we need to go.”—Nicole Eredics, author of Inclusion in Action

The Social Emotional Learning Toolbox

Practical Strategies to Support All Students
By Kathy Perez, Ed.D.

Perfect for: K-5 teachers who need a practical introductory guide to infusing their existing curriculum and routines with high-quality, evidence-based SEL instruction. Created by a seasoned educator with three decades of experience, this research-supported guidebook is filled with classroom-tested tips and techniques you can put to use in the fall.

Rave review: “An essential book for educators who care as much about their students’ emotional wellbeing as their academic learning.”—Kathleen Kryza, international educator, consultant, and author

Unpacking the Pyramid Model

A Practical Guide for Preschool Teachers

Edited by Mary Louise Hemmeter, Ph.D., Michaelene M. Ostrosky, Ph.D., & Lise Fox, Ph.D.

Perfect for: Early childhood educators who want to implement the Pyramid Model effectively. Written by the developers of the popular framework and experts with extensive training experience, this is the first book to offer a comprehensive, step‐by‐step guide to implementing all tiers of the Pyramid Model: universal, targeted, and individualized.

Rave review: “Each concise, practical chapter is a gift, offering visual examples of classroom tools, real-world anecdotes, and easy-to-use checklists that encourage teachers to reflect on and strengthen their practices.”—Marilou Hyson, Senior Consultant, UNICEF and The World Bank

Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools

By Jen Alexander, M.A., NCC, SB-RPT

Perfect for: PreK-12 educators who need a comprehensive framework for building a safe, supportive school environment that helps every student learn and thrive. This timely book is a must for helping school teams develop trauma-informed action plans that make a real difference in the lives of all kids.

Rave review: “Are you working with children who struggle because of their history of adverse experiences? You need this book—even if you already have a full shelf. Packed with stories, wisdom, and practical tools, this is a resource you’ll come back to over and over again for ideas, support, and encouragement.”—Jody McVittie, Executive Director, Sound Discipline

Teaching Dual Language Learners

What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know

By Lisa M. López Ph.D., & Mariela Páez, Ed.D.

Perfect for: Early childhood educators looking for ready-to-use guidance on teaching, engaging, and assessing children from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This practical book includes learning objectives, guiding questions, self‐study and reflection activities, and downloadable forms.

Rave review: “Comprehensive, timely, well-researched, and highly accessible…addresses the need for research-based approaches that all early childhood educators can implement.”—Linda Espinosa, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri-Columbia

Design and Deliver

By Loui Lord Nelson, Ph.D.

Perfect for: K-12 teachers in search of a reader-friendly UDL primer that both explains and shows how to use the three key principles of UDL—Engagement, Representation, and Action & Expression. This essential book reads like a face-to-face talk with a passionate and experienced educator.

Rave review: “Informative, approachable, and tangible…This book will be, without question, the go-to UDL book for classroom teachers. Thank you, Loui, for taking the guesswork out of UDL!”—Azure Angelov, University of Indianapolis

Sing & Sign for Young Children

A Guide for Early Childhood Professionals

By Anne Meeker Watson, Ph.D.

Perfect for: Early childhood educators who want to harness the power of sign language and music in their classrooms. Dr. Anne Meeker Watson shows how to transform daily activities—including arrival, mealtime, free play, and departure—into joyful learning opportunities infused with music, play, and warm adult‐child connections.

Rave review: “Wow, just wow! I can’t think of a better resource to promote young children’s self‐regulation, communication, social‐emotional learning, and cognitive development.”—Alice-Ann Darrow, Retired Irvin Cooper Professor of Music Education and Therapy, Florida State University


Hope this post gave you some great suggestions for your summer TBR list! The Brookes blog is taking a brief hiatus until August—we’ll be using that time to create some great new content that’ll help support you during the new school year. Stay tuned, and let us know in the comments if there’s a specific topic you’d like us to post about!

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