Jim Rohn said it best: “The book you don’t read won’t help.” Summer is the perfect time to lounge on the couch or poolside, crack open a book and discover innovative ways to grow your professional skills and enhance your after school program.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve an existing program, these books will provide tips, tools and insights on creating a high-quality, enriching learning experience for your students:

Great After School Programs and Spaces That Wow! Receive insight and tools to transform your program into an exciting and inviting learning environment. Written by experienced education consultants who serve programs across the country, this resource focuses on three dimensions of a school-age environment - temporal, interpersonal and physical - to help program leaders create a space that fosters positive growth, learning and development.

Lead the Way: 24 Lessons in Leadership for After School Program Directors. Learn actionable tips and strategies to help you thrive as a leader from former President and CEO of the National After School Association, Paul Young, PhD. With years of experience as his reference, Dr. Young shares 24 fundamental insights and strategies to help you recruit, retain and grow effective leaders in your program.

The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher's Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to AchieveStudents achieve more when they understand their intelligence is not limited. Created by teachers for teachers, this easy-to-follow guide provides hands-on lesson plans, research-based activities, real-life examples and more to help educators foster a growth mindset classroom or program.

Finding Funding for Youth Programs: Fund-Raising and Friend-Raising Secrets that Are Right Under Your Nose. Need creative ways to fund your after school program? This guide helps program leaders find untapped resources in their local community. Specifically written for not-for-profit programs, it explores low or no-cost partnership and sustainability strategies that will help to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help to reduce the opportunity gap.

Using Brain Science to Make Training StickDiscover learning principles that are based on how the brain naturally learns. Written by an experienced author, educator and corporate trainer, the book contains ideas and principles to help educators better engage students in the learning environment and boost knowledge retention.

The Non-Profit Narrative: How Telling Stories Can Change the World. Telling your program’s story, whether big or small, is a powerful way to raise money, attract donors and make an impact on students and families. Apply the storytelling principles from this book to share your story through social media, staff meetings, family events, newsletters and traditional mail.

Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising AchievementDiscover smart, purposeful engagement strategies to engage and retain the most vulnerable students in your program. Leveraging research that identifies engagement as the key factor in the academic success of low-income students, the author provides practical methods for revitalizing and enriching your program to keep these students interested and excited to learn.

Need more? Check out our Resource Section for books, games and toys for your after school program.