A Little Time for Read Alouds

One of the "sacred" times in my classroom is our end of the day read aloud.  I feel like it is *such* a great way to get the students involved in literature that they wouldn't necessarily choose themselves as well as help to create a community of readers out of those students.  Each day, as the class comes to a close, we all gather around on the rug, listen to the same story, and discuss it together.  But more importantly, we *enjoy it* together.  It is that enjoyment that helps to build our community.  They really do look forward to it (if for some reason we can't read one day, they ask incessantly about it.  Really.)

So, I thought I would take this post to discuss some of my favorite read alouds and then open it up to you to discuss your favorites!  

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

If you follow me on Facebook, you know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book.  I talked about it quite a bit when we were reading it this year.  It is just such a great book that the kids really get involved in.  The writing is different than most books we read in class in that the narrator talks directly to the reader, addressing us by name and making it such a personal story.  This is the perfect story to get lost in...and the kids really do get enveloped in the fantasy, the themes of good vs. evil, and the separate/intertwining stories of the characters.  Fabulous story to help build a community of readers.


There's A Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar

Out of every story I read aloud to the students, not one has as much impact as this tale does.  This story takes us along the journey of a boy who is a bully with no friends, even his teachers and members of his family don't really like him.  By the end, he has changed so much that we are rooting for him to win.  Believe me when I tell you that as the story reaches about the halfway mark, a pin drop could be heard in the classroom as all of the students are hanging on every word I read.  (I actually read a portion of this in the library one day when we had some extra time and the librarian couldn't believe the students' reactions...she promptly ordered 3 copies for the library!)  There are such lessons and takeaways from this book, too, that I feel it is a MUST READ in all upper grade rooms.


The Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-13) by Lemony Snicket

Now, this isn't a great work of literature or filled with fabulous themes and messages, so if you are looking for a book like that, this one isn't for you.  However, this is a series...and allows the kids to really involve themselves in the story over a long period of time.  They get invested in the main characters and grow to care about what happens to them.   One year, my students and I read the first 6 books of the series together because they just kept wanting to know what happened to the children in the story!


So there you have it.  Three of my favorites that I love to read aloud.  Now it is your turn.  What are your favorites and why?  Let's make a list so that we all can help to build lifelong learners and a community of readers!

18 comments

  1. Tale of Despereaux is also a favorite of mine. I also love reading Wonder to my 5th graders, as well as Holes. All of these are high interest and also have great lessons on multiple perspectives. Can't wait to try There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom! Thanks for your post

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  2. Poppy - I love getting to be a grumpy porcupine!

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  3. I teach 5th grade and here are some of my favorites :)
    Wonder ~ amazing book teaching compassion, seeing others viewpoints
    Because of Mr. Terupt ~ another book about 5th grade "Features seven narrators, each with a unique story, and each with a different perspective on what makes their teacher so special." (from GoodBooks)
    No Talking ~ just a fun book about 5th graders who have a No Talking contest (I love the different teacher reactions)
    A Christmas Carol ~ classic and great to be able to show the movie to compare and contrast right before Christmas break. It's a wonderful way to still be focusing on TEKS and keeping the kids engaged at a time that it's so difficult!

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  4. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (also by Kate DiCamillo) is a wonderful book about a snooty china rabbit and his journey to learn to love. GREAT ENDING!!
    The BFG by Roald Dahl is one that my students absolutely love every year. The "big friendly giant" has such a unique voice and says things that really get the kids thinking deeply.
    I also read the Poppy series by Avi. The students usually beg me to keep reading the next one and the next one. I must admit - I love reading Ereth the grouchy porcupine, too!

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    1. The BFG! I had forgotten about that one. Most definitely a crowd pleaser!

      The Twits by Roald Dahl is also one they love.

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    2. My students have always LOVED The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. They beg me to continue reading even when it is time to stop. I have read it several times, but I still cry at the end each time I read it.

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  5. When I taught 5th grade we loved Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and The Phantom Tollbooth. Teaching 6th grade math now, and thought that I'd start a read aloud in my homeroom class that has a math focus. Any ideas?

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  6. The BFG by Roald Dahl. My teacher read it to me when I was in school and I've read it to my classes.

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  7. The Sisters Grimm...My class regularly whined when I closed the book at the end of read aloud. They always just wanted more!

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    1. I keep saying this, but I have to get these books! I have heard nothing but good things about the Sisters Grimm. Amazon here I come!

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  8. I've read Wonder (R.J. Palacios) two years in a row, Among the Hidden, the first in the Shadow Children series and Found, the first in the Missing Series (last two by Margaret Peterson Haddix), Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate diCamillo. Currently reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Read alouds are my favorite time of the day. Haddix has a book about a bully - Dexter is the book's name. We find out why Dexter does what he does. I've thought about using that as a read aloud, but I tend to want to choose books my students wouldn't ordinarily read - hence the dystopian novel, and Wonder and Out of My Mind.
    I generally avoid books that would be easy for them, though I do book-talk them. The most popular are always the ones I say I couldn't finish or hated - Peter Nimble, for one, or the Gideon trilogy. I will book talk Doll Bones, too, and I know they'll love it - I was uneasy through the whole book.

    Jan T.

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  9. For your end-of-day read-alouds do the students just listen for pleasure or do you have them do lessons, writing, or whatever related to those books also?

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    1. I personally just have the students listen for pleasure. I will occasionally pull the story we have read into one of my language arts lessons if appropriate, but when we are on the rug it is all about enjoying the book.

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    2. Thanks! I agree it's so important for students to have real opportunities to just engage with a text for the sheer enjoyment of it!

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  10. Another really great book is The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. My students loved it.

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  11. We're currently reading Because of Winn Dixie. I read it when I was young so I'm reading it as a first year teacher to my kiddos. We're then going to read Sideways Stories from Wayside School - another book I was read when I was younger! I'm always on the look for new books so I really appreciate you doing this post.

    When you're reading, do you find that both your boys and girls are involved? I have quite a few boys that are never wanting to sit and listen... always distracted. How do you advise keeping them entertained and engaged in a story!?

    Sara
    Miss V's Busy Bees
    ventrellasara@gmail.com

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  12. My students LOVE The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy series, especially the boys!

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  13. The Boys Start the War and The Girls Get Even by Phillis Reynolds Naylor. My students always loved predicting what prank would happen next and it was a great way to talk about how something might start out being fun but can end up being hurtful. Also has a lot of cause and effect!

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