Using read alouds with your upper elementary school students at the start of the school year can be extremely powerful. Read alouds are an engaging way to help build community and set expectations for the rest of the school year. In this post, you will discover a few books with different messages that can help spark meaningful conversations between you and your students, and help set the tone for the year.
(Most of these books can be found on Amazon. I have attached an affiliate link to each one for easy browsing and shopping.)
The book, Each Kindness, is perfect gateway for building community within your upper elementary classroom. The book tells the story of a girl and a couple of her friends who shun a new girl at the school who is trying to befriend them. After some time, the 'new' girl retreats and plays by herself. When the teacher presents a lesson on kindness in class, the main character realizes she has done wrong, but she is never given the opportunity to make it right again.
This book works well with older students because the text and illustrations are presented in a mature and relatable manner. Also, the ending is not the usual "happily ever after" ending that most are use to. It teaches that in life we sometimes do not get a second chance to make things right.
For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story
For the Right to Learn is not a traditional back to school. It is the story of Malala's life. It discusses the obstacles she has faced throughout her life when trying to protect her right to an education, and how even after almost being assassinated, she continues to discuss the importance of providing access to education to everyone.
It is a beautifully illustrated book that discusses a reality children around the world are facing. It is a great way to bring up how fortunate we are to be given access to education, and how it should not be taken for granted.
Mr. Peabody's Apples
Mr. Peabody's Apples tells the story of a beloved baseball coach in the town of Happville, who becomes ostracized when a rumor is spread around town about him. Mr. Peabody helps the 'rumor spreader' realize that he has made a mistake. He also teaches him how hurtful rumors can be and just how difficult (and near impossible) it is to take it back.
This book provides teachers with the opportunity to discuss how hurtful words can be. It's text and illustrations present the moral in a mature way that upper elementary students can relate to.
Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice
Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice is about a young girl with a VERY LOUD VOICE. Her teacher intervenes and teaches her five different voice levels; whisper, six-inch, table talk, speaker voice, and outside voice.
This book is an engaging and fun way to introduce a lesson on voice levels students should be using in school.
The Gigantic Turnip
The Gigantic Turnip is about a man who grows a huge turnip in his garden. When he goes to pull the turnip out, he can't because it is too large. He asks his wife for assistance, but they still can not pull the turnip out. They call on several others to assist. This book is great to teach theme with. Two lessons that are included it that with teamwork anything is possible, and no matter how small someone is, they can always make a difference. I love to use this book before working in groups as a segway into what working a group should look like in the classroom.
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If you'd like to read about some easy to implement, highly engaging Back to School activities, click on the image below.
Wishing you your best year yet!! 😍