Classroom Read Aloud Book Ideas

We asked visitors to:
Describe a book that you enjoy reading with your class. Tell why you and your students enjoy the book.

Tikki Tikki-Tembo and Other Favorites
Submitted by Barb from Missouri, Grade 3

I love reading the book Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, to second or third graders. It's a great book to read at the beginning of the year, because the kids have so much fun repeating the long, long name of the main character....Tikki tikki-tembo-no-sa rembo-chari bari-ruchi-pip peri pembo. Even before you get to the end of the book the children will be saying the name with you. They ask to hear the story over several times.

If you like to do "story souvenirs" with your read alouds, the students can make a ladder from toothpicks to remind them of what happened in the story. The main character falls into a well and it takes a long time to rescue him because it is hard to say his long, long name. Thus the Chinese people, as the story goes, think it is wise to give their children very short names.

Another favorite that I love to read to 4th graders is The Kid in the Red Jacket, by Barbara Park. (I think the little girl in the story could have been the forerunner to Junie B. Jones). This is a funny, but very touching story about a boy trying to make friends in a new school. It also touches on how sometimes we try to impress people at the expense of hurting someone else. I think it teaches a good lesson as well as being entertaining.

Next, I love reading the books by Ann Cameron.....Stories Julian Tells, Julian, Secret Agent, Stories Huey Tells, More Stories Julian Tells, More Stories Huey Tells, Gloria's Way, and Gloria Rising. These are wonderful stories for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th graders. The main characters are three Africa-American children. They have fun adventures with each other and learn a lesson from their experiences. I teach in an urban school district and my young students can identify with these characters and enjoy reading about them.

I could go on and on.........but it's Friday night, 7:00 and I need to get organized for these last two weeks of school and get home to my family.

One last recommendation....This is a newer book that many people are familiar with, probably because of the movie. Because of Winn Dixie is such a great book, again I enjoyed reading it with my 4th graders. Who can resist the dog, named after a grocery store, and all the warm, caring characters who share their stories, and eventually become friends? Your students will love it. There are so many fun activities you can follow up with after reading it in class (just go on line to fine many activities). We had a party in our classroom with a "dog" theme, egg salad sandwiches, punch, and Litmus Lozenges (mints). These are just a few of my favorite read-alouds. How could anyone resist loving reading with great books like these???

U is for... Underwear
Submitted by Debbie from Tennessee, Grade: Kindergarten

One of my favorite books that I used to read to my kindergarteners was the book Underwear. It was about two animals, one of which has become what we might think of as depressed. His friend tries to cheer him up by taking him to an 'underwear festival' (boxers not briefs!) He then challenges his friend to say the word underwear ten times without laughing! Of course, he is completely unable to do this and ends up in uncontrollable laughter! The children find this hilarious! The main objective was to teach the /u/ sound, but there were many other objectives that we tied into as we read the book. We discussed compound words, position words-under, talked about realism and fantasy, author's purpose, friendship and of course, we decorated our own pair of underwear.

Interactive Butterfly Life Cycle Book
Submitted by Terry from North Carolina, Grade: Kindergarten

I like to read Stripey the Caterpillar. It has a finger puppet caterpillar that flies from flower to flower in the book. At the end of the book the caterpillar velcros to butterfly wings. We read this book while we our learning about the life cycle of a butterfly. We hatch butterflies for this unit.

Laughing and Sharing
Submitted by Afsi from New York, Grade: Kindergarten

We Share Everything by Robert Munsch is a book I enjoy reading with my class. It is the perfect book for reading during the first week of school. Anytime the children are not sharing, we just say those famous lines, "Now look, this is kindergarten and in kindergarten we share.." they all start laughing and share immediately. So perfect!

Science - Reading Connections
Submitted by Kathy from Mississippi, Grade: Kindergarten

I enjoy reading any book that will catch the interest of my students. We have read Eric Carle, Ezra Jack Keats, Leo Lionni, and Laura Numeroff during the month of May. We have talked about matter using The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. We have talked about the plant life cycle and the seasons using The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. We have discussed the primary and secondary colors using Little Blue Little Yellow by Leo Lionni. Then we had a blast reading Laura Numeroff's books: If You Give a Pig a Pancake; If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (We discussed matter and ate pancakes with maple syrup; another day, we ate cookies, the third day, we ate muffins and we finished our reading blast with If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. We went to the movies.) All the students really enjoyed connecting science with reading.

Keep Singing!
Submitted by Pamela from Texas, Grade 1

Our class enjoys Sing, Sophie by Dayle Ann Dodds. This is a humorous story of a young girl who has a song in her heart, but she has trouble finding the right time and place to sing it. She is not easily discouraged and has to keep trying to sing. Of course, I sing her songs to my own made up tunes and it allows everyone to really ham it up.

I use this book as a culminating read aloud for our unit entitled "Keep Trying." First graders learn about what it means to have a goal and the character traits, such as, perseverance and commitment, necessary to reach their goals. We also do a writing activity about a character that must strive hard to reach his/her goal.

Studying the Math, History, and Geography Behind Toys
Submitted by Wendy from Pennsylvania, Grade 1 Homeschooler

Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions, by Don Wulffson. We homeschool, so I am always trying to find ways of including several subjects into one lesson. With this book we can learn some historical information and branch off into what else may have happened at that same time period (history). We also then head out to thrift stores in search of older toys and try to guess what they might cost then and now (math). All the while reading from the above book. One last lesson that we can cover is geography. Where were these toys made? We look on the map to locate these places.

Molly Lou Creates Close Bonds
Submitted by Adrienne from North Carolina, Grade 1

I enjoy reading Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell, with my class. It is the cutest book I have ever read. I love it because it is book that I and my students both enjoy. The main thing about this book is it teaches my students to be proud of themselves and realize that they are special and unique in their own way. After reading this book my students then usually go around and show each other, things they can do that make them unique. This is one of those books that help the class bond and feel like a family. I will definitely read this book to every class I have.

Fooling the Emperor
Submitted by Nancy from Michigan, Grade 1

I enjoy reading the fairy tale The Emperors New Clothes. My children love to listen to this story because the Emperor believes that he can 'see' the cloth when my first graders know that he is being fooled. They especially love to see the picture of the Emperor walking in his royal procession with no clothes on. We then talk about not believing everything we hear and just because everyone says something is so doesn't mean it is, we can use our own brain to decide. Even my lowest readers enjoy this book that keeps their attention throughout!

Teague's Letters Teach Writing
Submitted by Amy from Kentucky, Grade 1

I have found Mark Teague's books, Letters From the Campaign Trail: LaRue for Mayor and Detective LaRue: Letters From the Investigation, extremely helpful when introducing letter writing. Not only do students enjoy the story of LaRue, they are given multiple examples of letters in several different contexts. I usually begin by introducing the students to the book and reading the first half of the book, stopping at each of LaRue's letters and having the students pick them apart. Students quickly recognize that each letter has a heading, greeting, a body with questions, closing, and a signature. Once we are midway through the book, I usually take a moment to introduce students to a song that helps them remember the different parts of a letter. As I finish reading the books aloud, I ask for students to recognize the five components of the letters. Excellent Book!

Two Favorites
Submitted by Melissa from Ontario, Canada, Grades 1 and 2

I enjoy reading two books. It was tough to decide so I will mention both. The 1st is Jeremiah Learns to Read. I chose this book because the story is about an old man who knew how to do everything else, but read. My students past and present enjoy the story because they are just learning to read. My 2nd book is I Like Myself. I chose this book because it teaches that no matter how you look on the outside, it's the inside that matters.

Adventures of a Lost Toy
Submitted by Kim from Massachusetts, Grade 2

Read aloud time is one of the most exciting times in my classroom. It is a time for students to benefit from a good role model, fall in love with literature and practice valuable reading strategies through discussions.

In my second grade classroom, we have just completed reading Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, the story of a lost toy and the places it goes and people it meets. When introduced to the book, my students were thrilled, as we have read Because of Winn Dixie, which was a class favorite.

I begin introducing the story by asking students if they have ever lost a toy or stuffed animal. Students share experiences, and we then talk about where that toy might be now- is another child out there playing with it? Students are then thrilled to hear the adventures of a lost toy, knowing that their lost toys may have gone through similar experiences. Throughout the book, there are many opportunities for connections to character education. Students respond to the various way the min character, Edward, is treated throughout his journey, and recognize how his feelings are connected. Throughout the story, students not only learn about reading strategies, they learn how to treat other people.

A Classroom Full of Kids with Chocolate Fingers!
Submitted by Tyronica from Georgia, Grade 2

The book I enjoy reading most to my class is The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling. I enjoy reading this book the most because the children absolutely love it! It is so easy to get the children involved. Not only can this book be read together with the students following along, but they also love reading with partners. Every year I read this book with my students, and then follow the story up by doing what I like to call "The Chocolate Touch Experiment". We take brown paint for this experiment because our school is "Sugar-Free", and chocolate is not allowed here. So we take the paint and dip our hands in them. The object is to see who can function the longest without using their hands. If they touch anything, it will turn to "chocolate" and they will be out of the experiment. The children see how important their hands are to their body through this experiment. It is funny to see them try and compromise using other body parts to function!

Book About Homes
Submitted by Kathy from Pennsylvania, Grade 2

A book I enjoy reading to my class is A House is a House for Me, by Mary Ann Hoberman. I have the students write their own version and get them to really think "out of the box". I always get some great ideas, but my favorite that I usually get from 1 student each year is: " A heart is a house for love ".

Christmas with Charlotte
Submitted by Mimi from Florida, Grade 2

WI have many favorite authors. They include Jan Brett, Tomie dePaola and Patricia Palacco. My students truly enjoy the books by Robert Munsch. My favorite is Love You Forever. This is a perfect story to read before Mother's Day, after which we discuss the story and then the students make their own Mother's Day cards. The best result of my reading is when I see my students choose books by the same author from the library. They also ask me to read the same books over and over again.

Fairy Tale Sipnoff
Submitted by Tammie from Arkansas, Grade 2 Student Teacher

My class enjoyed Kate and the Magic Beanstalk. We are studying Fairy Tales so we decided to read a spin-off. We compared and contrasted the story with the original Jack and the Beanstalk. The girls in the class were excited to have a book they could relate to because the boys had the original story. My class loves books that derive from original classics that are changed to be funny.

The Wonderful Wizard
Submitted by Carrie from Missouri, Grade 2

Our class is really enjoying The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. We enjoy this story because it has parts that are similar to the movie, but there are surprises in the book that were cut from the script of the movie. It is fun to see the reactions of my students when we read a part that is new and they have to use their imaginations to picture it. Also I use different voices for the characters.

Jan Brett's Umbrella Book
Submitted by Tonya from North Carolina, Grade 2

In my 2nd grade class, we have a thematic unit on the Rain Forest. In this unit we read the book The Umbrella, by Jan Brett. This book is so awesome with such detail in her illustrations. The students love to see the clues that are on the pages to what is happening in the story. Jan Brett does an amazing job at using the animals to convey her story. This book is great for using and teaching all story elements.

Another Vote for Tulane
Submitted by Christine from Wisconsin, Grade 3

We have been reading the Miraculous Adventures of Edward Tulane. The story captivates the kids and they love to see how Edward changes through his adventures. plus the surprise ending gets them every time. the kids are always sad to have the book end!

Scary Stories for Kids
Submitted by Jason from Iowa, Grade 3

My students REALLY enjoy the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Each year, I read a few of them to my class during read aloud time. Whenever a chapter ends, R.L. Stine leaves the reader in suspense... which is exactly where I leave off each day. At the end of read aloud time, I always hear the kids groan and complain and yell "Don't stop now!"

Some Goosebumps books are scarier than others. I try to choose ones that are scary, but not inappropriate for third graders. Welcome to Camp Jellyjam and Barking Ghosts are two of my favorites.

Timeless Classic: Have the Kleenex Ready!
Submitted by Deborah from Virginia, Grade 3

Some books are just timeless, regardless of the copyright date! My most favorite book (whose copyright date is 1945) is called I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I read this aloud on the school news every year for Mother's Day and undoubtedly am stopped in the hallway by many teachers telling me how much they loved the story and how much they've cried! It's a story about a mom who rocks her new born son and tells him "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living muy baby youy'll be." As the story progresses she talks about how her son grows up, eventually marries and has his own daughter and on each page "mom" constantly repeats the verse above. Until finally mom is too old to sing the song completely and her son rocks her and sings the song to her. Then he goes home, picks up his newborn daughter and the tradition continues! It's a story I have read to my son's since they were little boys and a story I'm sure they will also read to their children. Timeless!

Your Teacher Might Be a Witch!
Submitted by Jamie from Indiana, Grade 3

The Witches, by Roald Dahl This book states in the first few pages, that witches are everywhere. A witch could even be the teacher reading this book to you right now. This book has plenty of suspenseful moments, perfect places to put the book down and pick up again later. There's also fun voices the kids can try. We watch the movie at the end of the unit and compare the book to the movie.

Survival in the Alaskan Wilderness
Submitted by Vicki from Washington, Grade 3

I like to read my students Gary Paulsen's book Hatchet. It's a great book to hook young boys into reading. Young Brian is in a plane flying to the Alaskan wilderness and he has to land the plane and survive by himself. I alway like to leave off at very suspenseful parts and hear the kids groan for me to read more. It's a great book for the students to make predictions of what will happen next and how will Brian solve his current dilema. Best of all, this book was followed by 4 great sequels and some of them were written because young fans of Gary Paulsen wrote to him to have him write more adventures about Brian. I've even had parents tell me that Hatchet was the first book that hooked their son on reading. I also have a huge picture of Gary Paulsen on my door. I think if the teacher really enjoys the book they're reading and it's quality literature the students will enjoy it even more.

Cleary is Clearly a Favorite
Submitted by Alison from Kentucky, Grade 3

I love reading any Beverly Cleary book with my class. We recently completed Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Like many of Cleary's other books, my third graders could easily identify with the circumstances the characters faced. Many laughs were shared, as well as "Eww, that's gross!" My students easily understand Cleary's books. It provides a wonderful opportunity to take the next step in Chapter Book reading.

Reading Sideways
Submitted by Jessie from Tennessee, Grade 3

I love to read Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar to my students. Its a fun easy read that the kids love. The chapters are short so its good to read a chapter or two after lunch or right before dismissal. The kids get a real kick hearing about each student and their silly story.

Sad, but Inspirational Book
Submitted by Alana from Michigan, Grade 4

As a fourth grade teacher, I enjoyed reading The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. We found the story to be sad yet inspirational. A few of my students told me they could relate to what the main character was going through with the loss of a parent. It was nice for some of the students to make that connection so they did not feel so alone with their thoughts and emotions. Also I found the book's vocabulary to be interesting and worthwhile for the students. It allowed them to use one of our main reading strategies of using context clues to understand unfamiliar words. My class as well as myself really enjoyed reading this book.

Spirit of Survival
Submitted by Annie from Oklahoma, Grade 4

I enjoy reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen with my students. It teaches them so much about the spirit to survive. They get absolutely involved in the book and can't wait to read the next chapter.

McGee with a Local Connection
Submitted by Bianca from Pennsylvania, Grade 4

I enjoy reading Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli with my class. The story is well written and is based outside of Philadelphia. It takes place back when racial tension is stronger and the people of the town are segregated. The main character goes through some extraordinary difficulties and life experiences such as loss, homelessness and trying to find a place where he belongs. All of which, a majority of my students have experienced. The story is very funny and vividly written so the students can easily visualize the events that occur in the story.

5th Graders Love Narnia
Submitted by Rhonda from Texas, Grade 5

I am a Math and Science teacher but I love to read The Chronicles of Narnia series. I love this not only because the language is very rich but the children ask a lot of questions and cannot wait until the next chapter. I read The Magician's Nephew and Diggory was a wonderful character that children could identify with being alone and wanting to have friends. Now I am reading Prince Caspian. The adventure keeps them guessing and most of them can't wait until the movie comes out! I just love to get them interested in any type of reading.

Homophone Book
Submitted by Kathy from Indiana, Grade 5

My fifth graders loved reading How Much Can a Bare Bear Bear by Brian Cleary. I read it to the class as part of a lesson on Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs. I made the students use the context clues to give me the meaning of each Homonym or Homophone as we came to it in the book (which are in bold and brightly colored print). Some words were quite difficult, but they loved it because it was silly and had crazy pictures. Plus, they loved the competition of being the first one to be able to figure out the meaning of the word. All around, it was great fun and very educational!

Eye-Opening Patricia Palacco Book
Submitted by Lucrecia from Georgia, Grade 5

I really enjoy reading Pink and Say by Patricia Palacco. This book is so inspirational as well as emotional. It tells history in an interesting way and it allows the children a chance to see that at one point in history children close to their age fought in world wars. I always get choked up at the part in the book that tells about the grandmother dying and the two boys burying her. She risked her life to save the boys life. I love all of Patricia's books but this is one of my favorites. It truly opens the students eyes to the trials and tribulations that our ancestors went through so that we have the freedom we have today.

Wimpy Kids
Submitted by Lynne from Iowa, Grade 6

Our class has enjoyed reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. We enjoy them because they are so true to life for 6th grade students about to enter Junior High. We also enjoy the antics of Greg Lefley and all of his thoughts towards life, family, school, etc. One of our favorite "episodes" is the Halloween scene when they run from the teenagers, then get doused by Greg's dad as they return home.

Maniac Adventures
Submitted by Iva from Tennessee, Grade 7

It's so hard to select one book from the many that my class read and enjoyed this year, but the unanimous consensus has to be Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. The students seem to be spellbound by the adventures of the main character Maniac. They enjoy the many activities that go along with the text which include acting out scenes and personal journal responses to the themes in the novel. They also enjoy creating movie posters and drawing scenes depicting the events in the novel. It is simply a wonderful inspiring story that exemplifies how an individual overcame many tragedies in his life and came out successful.

The Wolf's Point-of-View
Submitted by Sherry from Oklahoma, Grade: Middle School Special Education

My class enjoys reading The True Story of The Three Little Pigs. It is written by Jon Scieszka. I always introduce this book by having my students, in groups, present the traditional story of the three little pigs as they remember hearing it. They tell the story by acting it out, singing it, rapping it, or just telling it. Each group member has to play an equal part. After this we talk about the difference in the stories we heard. Then I introduce the book. I read it aloud, using dramatization of course! This book is written from the wolf's point of view. It is totally different than the traditional. The kids get a big kick out of it and lots of laughs. It is really funny. We then do comparison activities between the traditional story and this one. After that I have the groups of students develop their own version of the three little pigs with their own twist! This is so much fun!

Heidi Captivates Middle Schoolers
Submitted by Ramona from Indiana,
Grades: Grade 6 Reading Renaissance, Grades 7, 8

I have enjoyed reading Heidi. Since I have my students for 1 period of Reading Renaissance (silent reading program) daily, I was not able to read the entire book, but chose excerpts from the book. I do not believe most students of today are reading the classics so I chose one and the students seemed to be enthralled by it. They were captivated by the genuine goodness in Heidi and the fact that she befriended her grandfather after he was basically alienated by his own bad behavior.

Beowulf
Submitted by Rhonda from Florida, Grades 11 and 12

Every year I read Beowulf with my senior class. Beowulf is required reading for 12th grade, but the language is hard. They enjoy learning the story and cheer on the hero as he wins each battle. One activity I have my students complete is to construct a map of a Beowulf-themed amusement park. Since we live in Florida almost all of my students have been to Disney World and are familiar with the maps they hand out at the entrance. The students have to create a map that is similar, with a medieval Beowulf theme. I love to see them get creative. Some students have fantastic artistic abilities and draw elaborate rollercoasters. Others download pictures of arcade games and rides and glue them onto tagboard. Everyone has to come up with a name for their park (Ex. - Beowulf's Den), as well as name and draw 2 rollercoasters, 3 games of chance (these usually involve some type of beheading), and a restaurant menu (Ex. -a glass of Beowulf Blood.....Tasty Fried Toes...Grendel Burgers). Students vie to make their park more elaborate and gory than anyone else's. After the park maps are turned in, I post them all on the walls and then we we have a "Beowulf Feast" recreating some of the food and drink items they created. The map and feast are a great tie-in to the story and each class can't wait till we read Beowulf.

Teacher From the Black Lagoon
Submitted by Chantell from California, Grades 1-6

I had students with varying learning disabilities ranging from grades 1-6. There were 19 students in my class so I had to be very careful in planning to make sure that whatever we did as a class, would be effective at all grade levels and functioning levels. On the first day of school I read The Teacher from the Black Lagoon. The students enjoyed hearing the book and I enjoyed sharing it. We were able to do several activities and assignments stemmed from the one story. We had already discussed student expectations, this story opened up a discussion of teacher expectations and what they as students expected from me as their teacher. We also used the story as a beginning writing activity. I had the students summarize and illustrate their favorite parts. Then we looked at all of the finished projects and talked about what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story. This allowed for immediate student work to be on the walls for display as well.

Sarah Morton
Submitted by Rhonda from Georgia, Grade: Elementary Special Education

At Thanksgiving I read Sarah Morton's Day by Kate Waters. Children like this book because the photographs used to illustrate it make it more real than drawings would. They also enjoy seeing how children lived long ago. They just can't quite believe it. I have them made a Venn diagram to compare their lives to Sarah's. Then I have them use the graphic organizer to write a paragraph/paragraphs to compare their life to Sarah's.

Puppy Who Wanted a Boy
Submitted by Rhonda from Georgia, Grade: Elementary Sepcial Education

Every Christmas I read The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer and illustrated by Lisa McCue. Children love the cute illustrations and they relate to the puppy because they have all had a time they wanted a special gift for Christmas or a birthday. They also feel sorry for the puppy as he tries to find a boy on his own by asking other dogs if they'll give up their boys and is answered very hatefully by all of them. When the puppy finally finds a boy's home where 50 puppiless boys live the children are ready to cheer because he finally got his wish - and a home. I tie this into writing by having them describe a special gift they wanted and how they ended up getting it or one they want and what they plan to do to try to get it. This can also be used to distinguish between fiction and realistic fiction by showing that if the character had been a little boy or girl wanting a dog instead of a puppy wanting a boy then it would be realistic fiction because that could really happen. This can also be used to introduce persuasion since the puppy tries to convince his mother why he deserves a boy for Christmas.