Summer months are for reading. 

It’s not that educators don’t read during the rest of the school year. They read a lot. But finishing books, especially novels, can be a challenge when the only time for reading is the three minutes your eyelids are still open in bed at night. I tend to have bursts of reading throughout the year, typically during the summer months. 

It’s an understatement to say that this past year in education has been exhausting. So now is a great time to close that laptop lid, power down that phone, and relax with a book. Maybe something light and beachy in June, maybe something that inspires you to start planning for the next school year in July and August. Our faculty and staff have recommendations to meet both needs. 

And don’t forget that your local library is the perfect place to start. Support your public libraries this summer. 

Happy Reading, 


UVEI faculty and staff members share their summer reading lists, pulling from the worlds of social justice, antiracism, deeper learning, and national trends to inform their work with novice teachers, experienced educators, teacher leaders, and principals. 

Page Tompkins

I like to mix books for inspiration and perspective on education, books that are useful for my teaching, and books that are just for fun (in my case, I ONLY read books for fun during summer…)

Woke is Not Enough by T. Elijah Hawkes

I’m really excited to read UVEI faculty member Elijah Hawkes’s latest book. I felt engaged and challenged by his earlier book School for the Age of Upheaval, which I read before Elijah joined the faculty and I’m super excited to see how his new book pushes, provokes, and inspires me!

The Foundational Handbook on Improvement Research in Education Edited by Donald Peurach, Jennifer Lin Russell, Lora Cohen-Vogel, William R. Penuel

I recognize that I and my colleagues at UVEI may be among the only 10 people on earth who will find this riveting… but I can’t wait to dive into this.  Several of the authors, including Bill Penuel, Sarah Woulfin, Louis Gomez, are scholars I admire and I’m particularly excited to read their respective chapters.

Finally, I plan to read the new Dungeons and Dragons books The Radiant Citadel and Spell Jammer: Adventures in Space because I am all kinds of nerdy.

Kristen Downey 

Making it Work: A Handbook for Writing for Understanding Instruction Vermont Writing Collaborative

One of the founding members, Joey Hawkins, changed the way I taught writing early in my teaching career, and the Collaborative’s work has been influential for me ever since. We assign Writing for Understanding in both our teaching and literacy programs, and their companion workbook “picks up where the earlier book left off.” This book has practical reproducibles, lesson plans, and step by steps for any teacher who wants to know more about how to help students write effectively. I even got to try out a lesson on Habits of Mind of effective writers with students this spring. 

A few books from the Green Mountain Book Award (GMBA) Master List 2022-2023 by various authors

My son is a student member of the GMBA selection committee. He spends the year reading dozens and dozens of YA books, discussing their merits with other students, librarians, and educators from around Vermont, and ultimately coming up with a short list for students in grades 9-12. The list this year features a diversity of authors and genres. 

Chris Ward

The Foundational Handbook on Improvement Research in Education Edited by Donald Peurach, Jennifer Lin Russell, Lora Cohen-Vogel, William R. Penuel.

I’ll be joining Page in reading this, and am excited to learn how we can continue to assist teachers and leaders in taking action to address inequality in schools.

Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad.

This is a foundational text of UVEI’s Literacy Educators Program, so it’s about time I caught up! 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel.

I’ve enjoyed the multiple, interweaving narratives and characters across time and space in her other novels, Station Eleven and Sea of Tranquility.

Andrea Feid

Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy by David Frum

I am so disheartened by the state of things today, and I am hoping to understand why Trump is still a polarizing figure and why a third of the country still supports him. I am also hoping to find some reassurance that we can repair the damage he inflicted, start to amend the wrongs, and heal. Of course this was written prior to the 2020 election…

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Dr. Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson

This is the UVEI Board of Directors suggested reading for the summer and a good choice after reading Caste last summer. I still often have a hard time talking about race and white privilege and need to be better. I would like to continue these discussions and learn how to do it with positive outcomes and in a less combative format.

Kristen Liu  

Rebellious Read Alouds: Inviting Conversations About Diversity With Children’s Books [grades K-5] by Vera Ahiyaa

One of the candidates in the literacy program recommended this book to our cohort as a possible way to invite conversations about race in their classrooms and schools. I am always looking to add to my list of read aloud books (I love children’s books!) but interested in reading about Ahiyaa’s ideas on how to begin conversations around race that are developmentally appropriate in elementary schools. 

Making it Work: A Handbook for Writing for Understanding Instruction Vermont Writing Collaborative

Kristen Downey recommended that I read this book since in the literacy program, we use the Writing for Understanding text as a framework to evaluate and look at our writing instruction. I’m excited to read about practical writing instruction for students and to possibly integrate into the literacy program.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

I love reading fantasy, and this author has been on my to-read list for a long time! 

Marie McCormick

Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe 

Hope and healing are badly needed in today’s world, and the climate is something we can’t afford to ignore. I hope to learn a lot from this book about ways that I can take hopeful action in this area.

A Kate Morton novel 

The story behind this is that my son picked up Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden for me from a little free library because he knows that I like to garden. The book was a page turner focused on family relationships and mysteries over multiple generations; and I would like to try another one of her novels. It should be a good beach read.

Adam Norwood

In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake The American High School by Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine

I’m always on the hunt for authentic examples of deeper learning in schools as well as understanding the challenges and rewards that come with trying to create these experiences for our students.

Designed to Learn: Using Design Thinking to Bring Purpose and Passion to the Classroom by Lindsay Portnoy

We work with our UVEI candidates to develop a design-thinking mindset when approaching problems of practice in the field.  Why not help kids in the classroom do the same?

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

One of my son’s favorite books from his AP English class, I’ve promised him that I’ll read it.  And now that the promise is in writing…

Elijah Hawkes 

In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake The American High School by Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine  

I’m reading this book because Adam is reading it and I want us to do a book group together to discuss it!  We are both on the faculty of the UVEI Leadership Program and I really value our discussions about this work.  I also appreciate what it says on the book jacket about deeper learning, rigor and joy in high schools: that “it is difficult but possible.” Yes.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler  

Whenever I visit my brother in New York City I always walk to Revolution Books and browse the tiny bookstore’s tables and shelves.  Last time I was there, I bought Parable of the Sower, which I’ve never read.  This summer, I will!