What Are You Reading?

Rachel Perugini Books, Education, Literacy

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As I write these words, Arizona officially is number 1 in the nation for the spread of COVID-19. Cases are spiking higher than we’ve seen since July. Teachers staged sick-outs this week as school boards voted to ignore state benchmarks and keep students in buildings. I received my second phone call last week stating my building had another COVID positive person. My stress and anxiety levels have never been higher, and, like most teachers, I am in desperate need of a break. And breaks for me usually mean catching up on my reading. Here are some books on my winter break reading list:

Habits of Mind Across the Curriculum by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick
This is book I have been piecing my way through for a while now, so it is on the list in hopes that I finish it. If you are looking for some good social-emotional strategies to incorporate this year, this book is for you. The nice part of this book, for me, is it provides explanations of each habit, prompts to use with students, and practical examples of how real teachers teach students to be better learners. I have been focusing on the strategies I see my students needing more work on, but you could easily tackle habit a week to finish out this year.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
This is another book in my never ending pile that was gifted to me by a teacher friend this summer. A timely book centered on examining what it means to not just be not-racist, but actively working against racism. Especially for teachers who work with students of every background and ethnicity, it is important to examine our systems and policies, and make sure our classrooms are equitable places that raise all students’ voices.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
If you have not already read this New York Times Best Seller, it should be on your reading list. It was such a moving story of the struggles the author faced coming from an abusive upbringing and how education helped improve her life. She focuses on education, both formal and informal, and shows how she managed to escape her situation through the education she gives herself.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
My teacher reading list would not be complete without some current adolescent literature. The newest book in the Hunger Games trilogy is a prequel showing the early days of Panem. I was in college when the originals came out, loved them, and I am so excited for the new one. The best part of reading it now is I can add it to my class library when students return in person and look like the cool teacher who reads awesome books.

Besides those, I also have a long list of murder mysteries and a book I need to read before I teach it next semester (ugh). As you look forward to a relaxing holiday and well deserved break, tell me, what’s on your reading list?

Photo by Anthony from Pexels


I am originally from Pennsylvania where I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Shippensburg University. In 2012, I moved to Arizona to teach on the Navajo Reservation; I liked the state so much I decided to stay. I taught language arts, reading, and journalism for three years at Many Farms High School. During that time, I earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Reading. In 2015, I moved to Flagstaff where I currently teach 10th and 11th grade English. I have been an avid reader all my life, so I love that my job gives me that chance to read amazing books with my students all day long.

Comments 3

  1. Randi Fielding

    Rachel, I love your reading list! I loved reading “Educated” and I’m sure you’ll love it too!
    My Winter Break book is “Wintering” by Katherine May. It describes how we all go through seasons of winter when we need to rest and retreat. I know I’m resting and retreating for the next few weeks to get ready for Semester 2.
    Hope you have a wonderful winter!

  2. James King

    I, too, was so excited for Songbird! I made my school librarian get a copy in our digital library because the public library had too long of a wait list.

    I was the first person to check it out in my school — LOL. Once, I was done, the kids could enjoy it.

    I love reading books I can recommend to students or I can engage with them about!

  3. Sandy Merz

    I have done 0 professional reading. Instead, I’ve been listening to a lot of Audiobooks and discovered their Audible’s great collection of books you “borrow” that are included in your membership. I’ve gone through all 5 of Don Winslow’s Neal Carry novels which are just super detective fiction if you don’t want to get real serious.

    The most impactful traditional book I’ve read is Broken, also by Don Winslow. It’s six short novels – about 60 pages each that is is some of the best short fiction I’ve ever read. The last story, The Last Ride, is about a burned out border patrol agent who decides on his own to get a girl in a cage back to her mom in Mexico. It’s brutal.

    I also listened, once again, to a favorite that your students might light called City of Thieves by David Benioff. It’s a coming of age novel about two young men during the German siege of St. Petersburg who have a week to get eggs for a general’s daughter’s wedding cake or else be executed.

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