Thursday, August 23, 2012

first day of school read alouds (part 2)

Last year, I wrote a post about books to read on the first day of school or the opening part of the year. It was a really popular post, so I'm going to add to it.


Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes. Many Kevin Henkes books would be great for the first day, and Wemberly is an adorable story of a very worried mouse on her first day of nursery school. Primary students will likely relate to many of the things Wemberly worried.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell is a charming book about a powerful young lady who gets picked on in school, but knows she should be proud of everything she is and stands up for herself. A great book to start conversations about bullying and/or being confident.

The Dot by Peter Reynolds is a a simple story about taking a chance to try something despite frustration. The art teacher encourages the little girl to just "make a mark and see where it takes you." It is important to get started and try. And sometimes you'll be amazed at where you end up. Reynolds' Ish is another good one.

Yo? Yes! by Chris Raschka is a delightfully short, simple story about the beginning of a friendship. Raschka conveys the message of friendship through a few words, stylistic choices, and clear illustrations. Young children will be captivated by this simple yet engaging story.

If you're musically inclined, Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes by Eric Litwin is great fun. You can google the songs and see performances of it on YouTube to help you prep for the reading of this book. Elementary students will get a kick out of participating in singing this book.

The classic Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen tells the story of shy Jim and his worries about making friends in school. A good conversation starter in the early days of school.

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal teaches important school concepts like respect, patience, and loyalty through her charming vocabulary lessons.

Wilma Unlimited! by Kathleen Krull ties to the Olympics, telling the inspiring story of Wilma Rudolph, who overcame polio as a child and went on to win 3 Olympic Golds.


Last year, a blog post over at the New York Times exploded and was turned into a permanent page collecting read-alouds from the NYTs. There are some new additions since I linked to it last fall. Check it out.

Fast, easy read aloud that engages students, particularly middle school students, are Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. The main character, Steven, spends his 8th grade year drumming, writing, and trying to deal with his five-year-old brother's leukemia diagnosis. A sweet, thought-provoking story about life in the midst of tragedy.

Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars is a funny, implausible but somehow believable story of a seventh grader stuck spending Wednesday afternoons with a teacher he thinks hates him when all his classmates go to religious school. But his teacher ends up surprising him in a big way. It starts a little slow, but it is laugh out loud funny once you get into it.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull is a fantasy novel that will have students begging for read-aloud time. Promise.

The Dairy Queen trilogy by Catherine Murdock is a very fun series about a girl, D.J., who works hard on her family's diary farm while playing for the high school football team. Boys and girls will like this one.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel is a fantasy adventure story that will keep your students on the edge of their seats.

Laurie Halse Anderson, Patricia McCormick, Sherman Alexie, Walter Dean Myers, David Levithan, John Green, and Sharon Flake are some authors that write some books that are a bit edgy and really engaging for teens that would make great read alouds.

What are you planning to read at the start of the school year?

** Update: Here's a link to even more amazing read aloud ideas at Choice Literacy.


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