One of my favorite things to plan at the end of every summer is my list of back to school read alouds. By the time they reach third grade, kids have heard a LOT of back to school stories so I try to think outside the box and come up with fresh books to share. Today I’m sharing five of my favorite back to school read alouds with you.
This is my absolute FAVORITE back to school read aloud. A family of otters moves in next door to Mr. Rabbit but Mr. Rabbit doesn’t know anything about otters and begins to panic. His wise friend, Owl, gives him a piece of advice. “Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you.” That gets Mr. Rabbit thinking and he realizes that he doesn’t need to treat his otter neighbors different! He needs to treat them the way he would like them to treat him. Most kids have heard of the golden rule but this book puts a fun twist on it. Do Unto Otters is the perfect lead into a conversation about how to treat each other in the classroom.
When I first read this book, I knew immediately that I would be adding it to my back to school book collection. The fact that it’s written by a Maine author made me even more excited to share it with my students. Penelope the T-rex is off to her first day of school. When she gets there, she’s surprised to discover that her classmates are humans and not dinosaurs! She learns the hard way that eating your classmates isn’t the best way to make friends. I love reading this story as a lead into a discussion about the qualities of a good friend.
This is a simple but powerful story. It shows students of all backgrounds coming together to spend the school day together in the type of classroom that all teachers strive for. A classroom in which everyone in it feels safe and welcome.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this story. It’s one of my favorites because it’s something that everyone can relate to. The Day You Begin is about the feeling you get when you walk into a room and immediately feel out of place. Whether it’s because of your skin color, how fast you can run, or the food you pack for lunch, you just feel out of place. We learn at the end of the book that the best way to fit in is to share your story. The day you share your story is the day you begin to make connections and feel a little less alone. This book is great for the first week of school because chances are, you have a friend or two in your class can relate to it. It’s a great way to help your students start sharing their story and build relationships.
This is a story of a boy who makes small decisions throughout his day but they don’t go unnoticed. He feeds popcorn to the bears at the zoo, leaves his coat on the floor at school, and blurts out while his teacher is reading the class a story. The zookeeper and his teacher both respond to his choices by asking, “WHAT IF EVERYBODY DID THAT!?” It’s a short but powerful question but it’s the reason why I love reading this book during the first week of school. What if everyone fed popcorn to the bears at the zoo? What if everyone in class left their coat on the floor or called out whenever they had something to say? It helps students see the importance of their choices and how their decisions impact others.
I hope you were able to find a fresh title to share with your students. In the comments below, let me know what your favorite back to school read aloud is. I’m always looking to add to my collection!