As the end of the year draws near and you start planning for 2020, make some time to build a reading list. Reading provides a myriad of benefits beyond just increasing your knowledge; it can also help you develop your critical thinking skills, improve your memory, help you sleep better, and more.

Because there are so many reasons why reading is beneficial, we want to help you build a list that’ll make 2020 an entertaining and educational year for you. We reached out to our faculty in the School of Education to see what’s on their reading list for 2020. Check out their recommendations below, and follow along with us on GoodReads to keep track of your progress.

Our Top 5 Recommendations

Why Don’t Students Like School? A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham
Pulling together findings from cognitive science, Willingham explains how we think and learn—and how this should influence teachers’ approaches to their classrooms. Learning styles, he argues, aren’t as big a deal as understanding how our brains gain and retain knowledge in the first place. The book presents nine principles with clear applications to the classrooms, as well as references for each chapter that readers can turn to for further information.

The Hidden Lives of Learners by Graham Nuthall
An accessible compilation of Nuthall’s 40 years of classroom research, The Hidden Lives of Learners explores students’ experiences of the classroom through three worlds that Nuthall says shape their learning: the public world of the teacher, the highly influential world of peers, and the student’s own private world and experiences. Written for teachers, the book is not so much a how-to manual as it is an encouragement to consider students’ perspectives and adjust teaching methods to meet them where they are.

What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith
What if change to our school system came from the communities, schools, and classrooms themselves? Dintersmith’s What School Could Be tells the stories of ordinary teachers innovating their classrooms in ways that could positively transform education in the U.S. The innovation expert traveled across the country and visited hundreds of schools, on a mission to raise awareness about the need for education reform. The teachers he met blew him away, and this book is the result.

The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein
The challenges we face in public education today are nothing new—and Goldstein’s book is proof. Tracing the history of public school teaching in the U.S., starting with the founding of common school in the 1800s, Goldstein tells how nearly every offered solution to today’s education problems has been tried before and failed. The questions we’re asking—What should be taught? Who should teach?—are the same as they’ve always been. To achieve improvement we must learn from history.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Tousafzai with Christina Lamb
At age 16, Malala Tousafzai became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Raised in Pakistan by a father who shared his love for learning with his daughter, Tousafzai was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban for speaking out about her right to an education—and miraculously survived. I Am Malala is her memoir, co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb.

More Recommendations from Faculty

If you’ve already read the suggestions above or want a bigger list to take with you into the new year, below are more titles submitted by faculty for you to explore.

As you get going with your list, don’t forget that you can follow along with us on GoodReads in 2020 to keep track of the books on your reading list, track your progress, and reference our recommendations all in one place.

Happy reading!

The top five recommendations and their descriptions were created by Meredith Sell, a contributing author. 

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