Top 7 Back-to-School Read-Alouds

What better way to kick off the school year than with some fun back-to-school read-alouds? 📚

No matter what elementary grade you teach, your students are never too old for picture books. 

Plus, picture books offer a great way to ease your learners into a fresh school year and start some great discussions. 

Also, I think picture books are magical. The memories they create in young children are so precious. You’ll probably notice your students come back to these picture books again and again during the school year. 

Here is a list of 7 of my favorite picture books for the back-to-school season. 

This image shows scrabble letters spelling the words "Back to school". At the bottom of the image are the words "Top 7 back to school read-alouds".

The Day You Begin  

The Day You Begin is a beautifully illustrated book highlighting the diverse cultures and languages classrooms are filled with. 

Often, it can feel intimidating to be in a room where you’re the only one who speaks a different language, brings “smelly” food, or doesn’t go on vacation.  

The author, Jacqueline Woodson, does an incredible job of relating to students’ fears and encouraging them to embrace their differences. 

Beginning your school year with this book will help create a classroom culture where everyone is encouraged to share more about themselves.

Here is a YouTube video of this book being read aloud. 🙂

What if Everybody Did That? 

What if Everybody Did That, written by Ellen Javernick, presents a different way to help students think about the individual choices they make. 

The main character makes lots of choices throughout the day that seem small and inconsequential, but is always posed with the question, “What if everybody did that?”. 

On the following page is a fun illustration of what it could look like if everyone in fact did whatever the main character had just done. 

It is a fun and creative way to bring up actions and consequences both in and outside of the classroom. 

Use this book to jump into a discussion about class expectations. Maybe even play out what would happen if everyone did the opposite! 

Do Unto Otters 

This next back-to-school read-aloud is another way to add some humor to class expectations, especially when it comes to how to treat each other. 

Do Unto Otters, written by Laurie Keller, is a fun take on the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

Sometimes our students really need some practical examples of what that actually means and looks like. 

Starting with this fun read-aloud and transitioning into a discussion of what it looks like to “Do unto otters” in your classroom would make for a memorable expectations lesson. 

And you can always use the phrase “Do unto otters” as a fun way to remind your students about their behavior. 

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

Teach your students more about the brains they have (and maybe even learn something yourself)!

This is a great book to jumpstart your year talking about growth mindset and the awesome learning that will happen in the classroom.

Bringing in Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, by JoAnne Deak, Ph.D., will teach your students more about how their brains work & learn. 

Use this book to pick your students’ brains and see what they are curious to learn this year as well!

Find more growth mindset read aloud books at this blog post!

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes 

If you are looking for a book to encourage your students to make mistakes, this is the one for you! 

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, by Gary Rubinstein and Mark Pett, walks through the day in the life of someone who has never made a mistake. 

And what happens when a mistake eventually does happen. 

I love how this book focuses on how being terrified to make a mistake produces a LOT of worry and keeps you from doing things you may enjoy. 

It is a great way to remind students that all of us will make a mistake, and they really aren’t a big deal. 😊

Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice 

Another book written by Julia Cook is Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice. 

This book is a GREAT way to introduce your students to different voice levels and when they are appropriate in the classroom. 

Told in a fun story with lots of great illustrations, this book will become an instant classic in your back-to-school pile! 

Pair this book with your voice level posters for a great discussion on your expectations for voice level during the different parts of your school day. 

The Cool Bean 

Upper elementary grades will relate to this book more than lower, but it is a great story for everyone.

The Cool Bean, by Jory John, is a great story that introduces the idea of what it really means to be “cool”. 

In this story, the bean starts talking about coolness in terms of clothing, ability, and talent. 

But, by the end, the bean realizes that being cool is really about being willing to help those around you, which anyone can do. 

There are plenty of puns in there to make it a book you really enjoy too! 😉

If this one catches your eye, be sure to check out all of Jory John’s series. The Bad Seed is another GREAT book! 

The beginning of a school year is filled with excitement and anticipation. 

These back-to-school read-alouds are great ways to add to that excitement and start creating core memories for your classroom community. 🥰

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