Wednesday, August 18

Favorite Back-to-School Read Alouds

I love reading to my class!

Last year, when my school district moved breakfast into the classrooms, this was the perfect time for a read aloud. They ate breakfast, and I entertained them with a book.

This year, I've changed roles so that I'm not a regular classroom teacher, so reading to my class is one thing I miss. Will I still get to read to kids? Yeah, probably. I'm a reading interventionist this year, so reading with and to kids will be a big part of my day-to-day job. For sure.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite back-to-school read aloud books that I'm missing this week. Are you already familiar with all of these?

You're Finally Here by Melanie Watt can be a hard treasure to find (I think I had to somehow create a Canadian Amazon account or make mine into a Canadian account), but I think it's a great first day read aloud to let the students know how excited you are to see them. It's a cute and humorous book. 

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg is a classic. Who can't relate to feeling like you don't wanna go somewhere? Then, the twist at the end is fun. 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague is a great book to begin a class meeting or discussion on something interesting that happened during the kids' summer break. It could also be a great mentor text for writing or telling a story. If I had a dollar for every time my second graders exaggerated or told a fib about some experience they had over the weekend, I don't think I'd need to have a job. LOL!

Mrs. Jones, I went to Texas to spend time with my cousin last night.
(We're a minimum 6 hours away from Texas.)
Oh, you must be so tired today. I'm so glad you still made it to school on time, though. 

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is a book I used to teach the Zones of Regulation. I would introduce the Zones. Then, I would use this book to have the kids help me decide which zone each emotion belongs in. Sometimes I even cover up the name of the emotion to see if the kids can guess which emotion the main character is describing. It's a great book to share the range of emotions we can go through, sometimes within a single day. Emotions are fluid, not static. We can certainly learn to regulate ourselves.

Germs vs. Soap by Didi Dragon is a book I was introduced to last year because of the pandemic. However, I think it's a book that should be read every year, because it's always important for the kids to wash their hands, even if we get beyond the pandemic someday. It's important for the kids to know why they should wash their hands and clean up after themselves.

The Pigeon Has to Go to School! by Mo Willems is a fun book that the kids will enjoy, especially if you let yourself get as hysteric in your read aloud as this silly little pigeon can be. Who doesn't like a Pigeon book? 

The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill is a great character development book. It has lots of qualities that make a good book. New student. Bully. The bully learns a lesson and becomes a better person. Being nice can have a major impact on someone else. It's just an all around great book!

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett is another great character development book. It's a great reminder that things don't need to be perfect. In fact, it's sometimes in the imperfections that we become a better person and enjoy life the most. 

I love Kevin Henkes books, and Chrysanthemum is no exception. I think this book speaks volumes to not letting other people get you down and that there's something special about being different than everyone else, being yourself. It's so precious at the end to learn that her favorite teacher also has a complicated name. I also love all the flower references, like every time she's made fun of, Chrysanthemum wilts. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the best back-to-school read alouds, but these are a few of my favorites that I always sneak in somehow in the first couple of weeks of school. 

I hope you are having a great first few weeks back in school OR a great few weeks left of your summer break. Either way, I hope you can find a way to model and share authentic literature this year with your kids. 

Cheers to a great school year!
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