Summer Reading

In June before entering grade eight, I remember my Dad presenting me with a box of books for my summer reading. He read to me every night when I was little – I remember having to call my Mom to help me to wake him up since he’d sometimes fall asleep while reading to me. He always pushed the four of us kids to read. And we hated it. Imagine growing up having a Mom who was a Principal and a Dad who was a high school English teacher and librarian. We could never escape! I remember my younger brother explaining to him that he would read the books recommended by Dad, but the problem was that the pages of books bothered his skin. And they let him off the hook….

But the truth is, thanks to my Dad, I was an avid reader as a kid, and although I didn’t always admit to appreciating his recommendations, I did. And I read all summer. The other truth is that my parents’ passion for learning did have an impact on us – my two brothers are teachers and married teachers and my sister is working on her PhD at Duke. Simply stated: we are a family of educators who read.

So call me old school, but I love Summer Reading Lists – personal and professional – and I am happy to share mine with you. Here’s the secret – as with almost everything I do, I go straight to the experts.

So my professional reading list this year comes from Andy Hargreaves, CAIS Board member and Thomas More Brennan Chair in Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. His most recent book, The Fourth Way, will be available at the Summer LI at Shawnigan and all Next Step participants will be given a copy. I highly encourage this one!

And my personal list comes from my former colleagues in the English department at Lower Canada College who always develop great summer reading lists. This is my go-to spot for suggestions for me and my kids.

Naturally, thinking of LCC got me thinking about who else creates Summer Reading Lists. So I spent two hours devouring our CAIS schools – this time I went alphabetically though the first 60 schools in our directory. (I know what you are thinking – get a life – but I can’t help myself.) I probably shouldn’t do this, but I had a favorite – check out the presentation style of Brentwood’s Summer Reading List.

So here are my official Summer Reading Lists:

Recommended by Andy Hargreaves, May 2011:

Apart from my own work like The Fourth Way, I can make several suggestions that might fit an independent sector leadership audience.

Bellanca and  Brandt: 21st Century Skills: rethinking how students learn,Solution Tree. This is a good reader on all the different aspects of 21C skills and innovation with a final chapter and critique by me!!

Kets De Vries, Manuel:  The Leader on The Couch. One of the best books I have read in years about leadership and the inner psychodynamics of it. It will promote deep thinking and reflection and massive new insight. I guarantee it.

McDonald and Shirley: The Mindful Teacher. Sets out seven principles of mindfulness in teaching with examples and can be easily applied to leadership.

Robertson, J and Timperley,H : Leadership and Learning, Routledge. Just out. Two female editors. Range of good and interesting papers connecting leadership to student learning.

Grogan, M & Shakeshaft, C: Women and Educational Leadership… a new book that should stimulate some good cross-gender conversation.

CAIS Schools Recommend:

I easily found Summer Reading Lists at the following schools:

Balmoral Hall


Elmwood – Junior School

Elmwood – Senior School

Fraser Academy – A Good Read

Glenlyon Norfolk School

Gray Academy of Jewish Education

Hebrew Academy


Lower Canada College


Selwyn House

Shawnigan Lake

P.S. In my search, I came across a few great blogs too:

Glenlyon Norfolk

HIllfield Strathallan College

Holy Trinity

Rothesay Netherwood

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