9 great back-to-school read-alouds

The first few weeks of school are all about routine, getting to know each other, learning about rules and procedures, and feeling welcome in our new classroom. Load up your lesson plans with these 9 great back to school read alouds for those first few days of school. (source)

Books about the first day of school are so important to include to help your students feel comfortable in the classroom. I’ve collected funny books, as well as heartfelt books for my 9 great back to school read alouds suggestion list!

How to Get Your Teacher Ready – Jean Reagan

This is a back to school book in a series of “How to” books about families. I love the other books, so I knew I’d enjoy this one. This story walks the students through the entire year of getting their teacher ready for specific scenarios they’ll go through in a school year. Such as the first day, the 100th day, Teacher Appreciation Day, and more. It’s an adorable book that flips the focus on the students. Furthermore, it’s written in an instructional-style that guides students through what they can do.

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do – Ashley Spires

When Lou and all her friends have imaginary playtime outdoors, Lou finally gets to an activity that she is too scared to do. As a result, her friends go on to play without her, while she makes up excuses why she can’t play with them. After talking herself into it and getting the bravery to climb a tree, Lou hops onto the tree to make her way up to her friends. When she fails after her first attempt, her friends support her and find a new activity. But, we find out that Lou isn’t going to give up on this new adventure. Above all, this book teaches bravery and perseverance, which is perfect for back to school and teaching kids about the growth mindset.

The Day You Begin – Jacqueline Woodson

This new story will be an instant favorite for many teachers. To begin with, the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! But the story itself is an amazing message for students. It goes through certain scenarios where students may feel ostracized and different from their classmates. It covers different skin color, names, culture differences, and fears. And although these students may feel sad because they feel different from their peers, the story helps them feel connected to their friends. It demonstrates how to find the similarities with each other that may not be obvious. Most noteworthy, this book is perfect in the first few weeks of school for team building and self-love.

The Pigeon Has to Go to School – Mo Willems

This adorable story is all about Pigeon demanding that he does not want or need to go to school. Then, he tries to explain to the reader that he needs to go to a place to practice reading, and painting, and eating lunch, and playing on playgrounds, which he soon finds out is at school. The most fantastic part at the end is when the school bus shows up for Pigeon. This book is certainly a must for fans of Mo Willems or Pigeon books!

A Tiger Tail (or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School) – Mike Boldt

Anya wakes up before the first day of school only to find that she has grown a tiger tail. Consequently, she spends the next day trying to figure out how to remove this tail because there is no chance she can go to school with a tiger tail. When she gets to school, she finds that although she’s the only one with a tiger tail, she’s not the only one who may have been worried about something! It’s a funny, cute story that will help students conquer their beginning of the year anxieties.

My Mouth is a Volcano – Julia Cook

This is an adorable book that helps teach students about interrupting and correct procedures at the beginning of the year. The story is about Louis and his volcano mouth that is constantly “erupting.” Once Louis gets interrupted during his special storytime, he realized what it feels like to be interrupted. As a result, he and his mom work on a way to prevent his interrupting in the future. This story is a great way to gently teach school rules and procedures in a way that kids can recognize.

First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg

This is an adorable story that has quite an unexpected twist at the end. It takes the main character through all the fears and hesitations about the first day of school. And when we get to the end of the story, we find that the main character isn’t who we were expecting at all. This funny story will help students adjust on the first day of school to help them realize it’s okay to feel fear and nerves in that first week because everyone does.

All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman

What an amazing read aloud!! Read it aloud every day if you want. The message will never get old. With rhyming words and repetitive lines, students can join in reading this book all about diversity. It represents people of all races, cultures, religions, and sexual orientation, and makes all feel welcome. I love this read and highly suggest it for your first week of school. Representation matters above all in children’s books and this is a shining example of a great read aloud to start with.

Do Unto Otters: a Book About Manners – Laurie Keller

What a sweet way to teach about manners in the first few days of school! This is an adorable repeat book to revisit throughout the year, too.  The illustrations are one way that the students will be drawn into this story. It almost has a graphic novel feel to it. The story goes through what “otters” would want but really reads like “others.” So they’re discussing how they want “otters” to be polite and considerate. There are real-life scenarios and even some foreign language fun to make this story relatable for kids.

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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