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Summer Reading List: Book Recommendations for Special Education Teachers

In your favorite chair, at the pool, feet in the water at the beach, these are all acceptable places to not be reading IEP’s, but rather a book for leisure! I've compiled my summer reading list for teachers just for you!


I’ve done a little reading this school year, some related to teaching and some not, and I wanted to share my list of 5 summer reading books for teachers that I would recommend (links to purchase on Amazon are included- not affiliated):


The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

I confess, I read this book as part of a roundtable group for school, but I had actually read (listened) a few years back. I had read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project book and was intrigued by the topic of happiness and how to foster it in my life.


I enjoy the author’s style of writing as it’s almost like you are having a conversation with him. He takes what could be very dry information and makes it relatable and digestible.


Due to the lightness of his writing, you could read this book during a long car drive and have lots to good conversations topics to discuss with the driver!








Interoception by Kelly Mahler

Calling all special education teachers who want to better understand their students!!! (Did you raise your hand?) I had not heard of interoception before my occupational therapist had mentioned it to me during a meeting. I was explaining that one of my students needed help identifying her body’s needs and emotions because I was convinced that the behavior I was seeing wasn’t defiant or stubborn in nature, but rather due to the lack of her awareness of her body, emotions, and understanding of those things. Well, turns out there is a name for that- interoception and it happens to be well researched. Kelly Mahler has created some curriculum to support students acquire these skills (yay, it is something they can learn)!


This book walks you through what interoception is, explains the science behind it, and then offers ways to support students in strengthening their interoception skills. It is a very easy and fast read and I highly recommend it for any special education teacher!

Read more about interoception at Kelly Mahler’s website by clicking here!




Hard Conversations Unpacked: The Who's, The When's, and the What If's by Jennifer Abrams

I admittedly have difficulty approaching people and sharing my less than positive thoughts, which I believe is a natural trait of most people. A few years back I was preparing to have a very scary conversation (in my opinion) and so I called my friend who was an assistant principal for guidance. She shared some tips from a training she had recently attended on having hard conversations. Fast forward a few years and that training was coming to a school near me- so I jumped on it! In just a few hours I came away feeling both empowered and confident in my ability to have 'hard conversations.' I followed-up that training by reading her sequel book to Having Hard Conversations and I am forever changed.


If you need some support in this area, then start with her original book (Having Hard Conversations) and then graduate to Hard Conversations Unpacked. If you can, attend one of her trainings in person- she is such a fun presenter and won't require you to role play (this, my friend, is key)!



When Less Becomes More and Simplified by Emily Ley

I read the entire When Less Becomes More book on a 2 hour flight few months back. Upon landing back in Chicago, I ordered Simplified and gobbled that book right up to! (Both books pack a punch, but are very quick and easy to read)


If you aren’t familiar with Emily Ley, she is a paper/pen planner designer and has a sweetly southern way about her style, design, and approach to living and staying organized. I was drawn to When Less Becomes More after reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. If you can’t tell, I’ve been trying to prioritize and simplify my life so that I felt less busy AND use the word ‘busy’ less often. I was drawn to both of these reads and came away feeling lighter and with more clarity on a variety of different fronts.


Emily’s books are beautiful! The colors are just the right shade of pleasant and the big pictures and blown up quotes help you to visualize and re-read the best parts of the books. I would recommend either of her books to the friend who wants to realign their life so they can find more time for the good stuff and less time for the bad stuff.

Soak in Emily’s style and other products on her website by clicking here!



Becoming by Michelle Obama

Yes, this book is well known and it is well known because it is SO GOOD! I listened to the book on my long drives to and from school this past fall and was simply mesmerized by Michelle Obama’s voice and cadence. She mainly tells about her time with Barack Obama and what it was like to campaign and then live in the White House as the First Lady of the United States of America. Regardless of your political stance, I think most women would find both her perspective and stories to be fascinating.


The audio version is long, around 14 hrs if I remember correctly, so be ready to make the commitment. However, once you get started it won’t be easy to stop and the book will be over before you know it.







Those are my summer reading list for teachers recommendations and I welcome yours. Please comment below with any book, school-based, life-based, or theory-based. Much thanks!


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