Read alouds can complement any classroom if you have the right book and an enthusiasm for reading!
Teachers from all grade levels submitted their favorite books for read-aloud time. A few titles appear multiple times, but many genres, reading levels, and authors are represented in this list!
My all-time favorite read-aloud is David McPhail's The Bear's Toothache. Both the story and the pictures are delightful and entertaining for children of all ages.
—Sue, Fifth grade
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig!
—Lindi Mitchell, Huntington Beach, CA, Kindergarten
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.
—Mya Rows, Scottsdale, AZ, Third grade
My fourth graders loved Charlie Muffin's Miracle Mouse by Dick King-Smith.
—S. C. Larson, Duluth, MN, Fourth grade
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Lively discussions were held concerning lying and conscience. The children also explored caring for pets and rural dialects and phrases.
—T. Soyka, Ebensburg, PA, Fourth grade
I always read My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett to my third, fourth, and fifth graders. I also read The Littles by John Lawrence Peterson to my third graders, which inspired them to read others in the series.
—Michell Towns, Lakeside, CA, Third grade
The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde.
—Chiquita Crowe, Newport, TN, Fifth grade
I love a book entitled The Fallen Spaceman by Lee Harding. It's about an alien who accidentally falls to earth, meets a young boy, and is willing to sacrifice his life to save the young boy. It is a short novel and the pictures are great.
—Peggy, Little Rock, AR, Fourth grade
Holes by Louis Sachar
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Frindle by Andrew Clements
The Landry News by Andrew Clements
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Time for Andrew by Mary Downing Hahn
The 13th Floor by Sid Fleischman
Sarah Ann Hartford by Kathleen Duey
—Karen Gee, Canyon Country, CA, Fifth grade
What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
Koko's Story by Francine Patterson
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
—Barbara Vossen, Jefferson City, MO, First grade
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault and Bill Martin Jr.
—Rosie Marck, Cincinnati, OH, Kindergarten
Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein is a wonderful, short chapter book about being yourself. It's also great for teaching onomatopoeia.
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss
The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg
Houdini Box by Brian Selznick
Shrek by William Steig
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall by David A. Adler
McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss
The Heroine of the Titanic: A Tale Both True and Otherwise of the Life of Molly Brown by Joan W. Blos
Zephyr by Chris Van Allsburg
—Gay Lynn Auld, Round Rock, TX, Sixth grade
Our new favorite read-aloud is Top Secret by John Gardiner. We also love Poppy by Avi; Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville; The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards; and There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar.
—Karen, Tully, NY, Fourth grade
When school begins, I like to read Ramona the Pest or Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary. A short book to tickle kids the first day of school is Never Spit on Your Shoes by Denis Cazet. During the year, my children love hearing about real people (biographies), and the adventures of Jack and Annie in the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. It would take an encyclopedia to list all of the excellent read-aloud books that can be used for patterned writing, but The Wright Group publishes several I love, such as Meanies and The Meanies Came to School by Joy Cowley; In the Rainforest by Lee Martin; and Save a Tree for Me by B. Norma Gentner. A good story for patterned writing with fairy tales is Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Good luck with connecting reading and writing!
—Georgia Bernheim, Ft. Huachuca, AZ, Second grade
Anything from Laura Ingalls Wilder keeps us in rapt attention. Holling Clancy Holling has some wonderful titles: Seabird, Pagoo, Tree in the Trail, Minn of the Mississippi, and Paddle to the Sea. They contain wonderful text and detailed artwork — a delight! We've also enjoyed Newbery Honor Award books Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates; The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong; Kildee House by Rutherford Montgomery (an interesting conflict resolution); and The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (acceptance of the differently abled). We also enjoy stories about horses. When I was a youngster, my grandmother gave me a book of horse stories from selected authors, many of which are from my favorite author, Marguerite Henry. She inscribed it with "Dearest Granddaughter Sharon, May you spend many happy hours with your nose in a book! Love, Grandmother S." Some 30 years later, I still have both the book and my grandmother. My students love to hear me tell about how I came to love these stories, almost as if it were a tale of its own, woven together. As we read and share our thoughts on the books, it becomes part of a beautiful never-finished work. It is a thing of beauty to observe a child who is totally absorbed in listening to a story. Especially if it winds up in the "I read the rest of the story last night under the covers with my flashlight after my mom turned out the light because I couldn't wait to hear the rest of the story" category!
—Sharon Kaltwasser, Lusby, MD, Second grade
My fourth grade students loved Poppy by Avi. The writing is beautiful and I highly recommend it! The book can tie into a science unit on the food chain, animal adaptations, interdependence, ecosystems, or just as a great read-aloud.
—Heidi, Amherst, NY, Fourth grade
I just found a great book for reading aloud to my third graders. It is the 1948 Newbery Award winner The Twenty-One Balloons by William PÃ¨ne du Bois. After reading the book, my class wrote hot-air balloon stories and made papier-mÃ¢chÃ© balloons. It was great fun!
—Mary Johnson, St. Croix Falls, WI, Third grade
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon and the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park.
—Jessica, Lincoln, NE, Second grade
I have recently read three books to my students: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo; Skellig by David Almond; and A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck. All of the books were successful, kept the students' interest, and prompted discussion.
—Michael Brocato, New Orleans, LA, Grades 4–6
Third graders love Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. This timeless classic is still a hit. We start by reading the story and, as we read, we do several activities like friendship poem webs, character comparisons, and spider research, which recently expanded to include research on the web. After reading the story, we watch the video and do a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting both. As a finale, the students bring in T-shirts to decorate with their favorite character, scene, or self-created advertisement for the book, and I fabric-paint their designs.
—Margaret Osorio, Bronx, NY, Third grade
Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks is the current favorite in my classroom. The students laugh no matter how many times we read it!
—Mari Taylor, Hamilton, IL, Kindergarten
My first graders love the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. We have read all of the books and are waiting for the next one. The kids get so involved and love to laugh at all the funny things Junie B. does. Our favorite? Junie B. Smells Something Fishy.
—Holly Lawson, Liberty, SC, First grade
I love to read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. The book really helps to motivate kindergarten students to share.
—Cassie Bair, Delaware, OH, Kindergarten
Holes by Louis Sachar is one of the best books we've read this year. The kids loved it and the humor kept them wanting to hear more.
—Sheri Lewis, Mt. Holly, NC, Fourth grade
As a long read-aloud, I love Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. There is very little dialogue, which helps readability, unless one is great at doing different voices. Also, each chapter leaves the reader wondering, which leads to prediction discussions. Best of all, the kids love it!
—Deb Daniels, St. Petersburg, FL, Seventh grade
Magic Growing Powder by Janet Quin-Harkin and Dandelion by Don Freeman.
—Barbra Bowman, Los Angeles, CA
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.
—Mary Mentink, Rhinelander, WI, Second grade
My all-time favorite read-aloud books are Old Yeller and Savage Sam, both by Fred Gipson. My students love following the characters' lives from one book to the other. I find these books excellent additions to the class study of Western Expansion.
—Patti Mosley, Lake Worth, TX, Fifth grade
I teach fifth grade and we have discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The class begs me to read and not to stop when I am reading aloud. We are on Book Five: The Austere Academy and plan to go through Book Seven: The Vile Village before the year is out. His dry sense of humor really gets the students motivated to question, predict, and look for answers to their questions. I recommend it highly for this age group.
—Patricia McGee, Mt. Airy, MD, Fifth grade
Mostly Michael by Robert Kimmel Smith is a great read-aloud. I prefer to pre-read and censor some pages before sharing it with the class, but the story and the message are wonderful. Michael does not like to read, and cheats on a book report assignment by turning in the same report he turned in last year. His punishment is to read ten books over the summer. My students always notice how the more Michael reads, the smarter he becomes. It's a great way to start a new school year!
—Shirley Morton, Carmel, IN, Fourth grade
I love the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault and Bill Martin Jr. It's a favorite of my students' and a great book to start or end a study of the alphabet.
—Cara Fitton, Paxton State, IL, Kindergarten
Rowan of Rin by Australian author Emily Rodda is a favorite of mine. It engages the readers and gets them thinking about what is really important in a person's character. A great book for making predictions and for showing how a story can be planned using a story map.
—Kym Stansbie, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, Grades 5-7
My students love Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch. They love to act like Stephanie and say her lines in the book. It is a book that they frequently request and never get tired of hearing.
—Jan Scheuffele, Yakima, WA, Grades 1-3
Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch is one of my favorites. My students are as surprised as the students on the first page of the book. I read it when I talk about using one's own ideas and individual thinking. It is a good discussion starter.
—Jane Junkert, Barnesville, MN, Kindergarten
Holes by Louis Sachar is one of the very best novels to share with students. There are three different time periods, each with characters that affect the others. I move to different locations of the room when the time zone changes to help my students keep a clear understanding and avoid confusion in setting. Kids love this extraordinary book.
—Joanne Laurinburg, NC, Third grade
I love to read aloud Holes by Louis Sachar!
—Laurie Clausel, Mazon, IL, Seventh and eighth grade
Holes by Louis Sachar!
—J. Friel, Florida, Fourth grade
Holes by Louis Sachar.
—Tammy Carpenter, South Elgin, lL, Seventh grade
George Washington's Socks by Elvira Woodruff
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Faraway Summer by Johanna Hurwitz
The Kwanzaa Fable by Eric V. Copage
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
—Cayetana Maristela, St. Joseph, MO, Fifth grade
I just adore several read-aloud stories. Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard is a classic tale of a disobedient classroom. I like to start the first week of school with this book because students can get so much from it. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White is a great chapter book that I prefer to read early morning or after lunch.
—Erica H., Baltimore, MD, Third grade
I love Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt; Holes by Louis Sachar; The Adventures of Ulysses by Charles Lamb; Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo; and a book called The Ancient One by T. A. Barron.
—Cindy Sapp, Siletz, OR, Sixth grade
I love Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I use it with my sixth graders to spur discussions and writing about how a person can appropriately handle a bad day, what makes a bad day for them, what makes a day good, etc. The students start out laughing because I'm reading a book that they consider a little kid's book, but they sit back and enjoy once they remember how much they loved it. I also use Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss in conjunction with my unit on prepositions and to help the students create their own preposition poems.
—Marcy Burkum, Brentwood, TN, Sixth grade