Written by Daya Cozzolino, TE Instructional Coach
In my first year as an elementary school teacher, I learned the beauty of the read aloud. Sure, I had heard about the importance of reading aloud to students from my professors in college, and I was even an avid follower of Jim Trelease. However, it wasn’t until I had my own classroom that I learned the true value of read aloud books. In just my first month of teaching, I realized that a good book could calm my students down, engage them, inspire them and instruct them in a way that connected to their lives. Through those books, I also learned many lessons about teaching, about my students, and even about myself. Knowing now that a great book can make the difference, I’d like to share five of my favorite read aloud books with you.
1. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall
This book drives home the point of setting high expectations for your students, having a strong voice AND balancing it with warmth. It fits in nicely at the beginning of the school year when setting expectations.
2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Let’s face it – all teachers have a rough day here and there and, as we learn in this book, so do our kids. This book is great for a laugh and is something to which both teachers and students can relate. It’s also a great reminder to be there for your kids when they are having a not-so-great day.
3. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
I remember reading this book as a child with my own mom and couldn’t wait to share it with my students. Not only does this book include beautiful pictures and touching stories, but it also helps a teacher connect to some of the struggles students are experiencing at home. I read this book to my students around Mother’s Day to segue into Mother’s Day prompts and poems.
4. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
I read this book to my very first class on the first day of school. Like many Henkes books, it has a theme that applies to many young children. This story specifically touches on bullying and the beauty in being unique. For teachers, it also shows us how much we affect our students and how much they look up to us. In my classroom I followed this book up with a discussion on kindness and respect.
5. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka
This twist on a favorite fairytale teaches all of its readers to examine both sides of a story before coming to a conclusion. Beyond its amusing story and pictures, this book is also great for teaching cause and effect as well as compare and contrast.
These treasured books were just a handful of the many amazing books that I used in my classroom to engage and instruct my students. I also had the joy of learning the many lessons they offered and would recommend them to anyone looking for a great read!