Eight Favorite Read-aloud Books for Back to School

Hello, teacher-friends!

I know we’re all having the back-to-school fever now that August has come. This entire week, I spent a lot of time looking for cheap but cute and colorful teaching stuff I could use to do a make-over of my classroom and that would match my red, green and yellow theme this year.  I couldn’t wait for my classroom to be ready for the new school year!  Right now, I’m trying to organize my Reading nook so that it will have a back-to-school theme.  I have chosen eight k-2 books that I will feature this month in my classroom library. I think these books would be a good set to choose from for  your read-aloud sessions with your kids this back-to-school week. I know how important it is to set the right tone on the first day, and reading these books will reinforce a positive feeling about being in school.

My favorite read-aloud books for back to school

Books with “First Day” Theme:

Schoolies: My First Day of School

1.  Schoolies: My First Day of School by Ellen Crimi-Trent –    Spencer does not know what to expect on his first day at school, so he feels awful just thinking about it. Soon he meets his teacher and other “schoolies” like him, and he feels a lot better!

This book is great for Pre-k or K kids who are just entering school for the first time.  It includes stickers as an added bonus.

First Day Jitters

2.  First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg – I love how, at first, it seems like something nearly every child with be able to relate to as Sarah does everything possible and gives all sorts of excuses to avoid going to school. This story is hilarious with a quirky ending and a great story if you want to make a laugh during the first lesson.  This book is one of my all-time favorites.

Fancy Nancy: Jojo's First Day Jitters3.  Fancy Nancy: JoJo’s First Day Jitters by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser – Again, another “First Day” Story in which the added lift-the-flaps pique interest. Nancy tries to cure her sister, JoJo’s, jitters with all sorts of “fancy” ideas. They try all sorts of things until finally, big sister, Nancy helps JoJo realize that it’s going to be all right.

Books with “How to Deal with Changes” theme:

Pinkalicious and the New Teacher

4.  Pinkalicious and the New Teacher by Victoria Kann – Pinkalicious can’t wait for a perfectly pinkariffic school year until she realizes she has a new teacher. Her day is topped off with many things like arranged seats, an erased chalk drawing, and no shaggy story-time rug. But afterwards, she realizes a new teacher might not be that bad.

I love that this book has bookmarks and stickers that I can give away to my kids, plus a fold-out poster that I can display in my room.  It was also just recently published!

The Night Before First Grade

5.  The Night Before first Grade by Natasha Wing – Penny’s excitement on the first day of school is shattered when she realizes that her best friend, Jenny, is in another class. This story, with words that rhyme, is sure to make  your first graders share their feelings during your read-aloud session.

Books with “Being Good in School” Theme:

Pinkalicious: School Rules!

6.  Pinkalicious: School Rules! by Victoria Kann – Pinkalicious wants her imaginary friend,, Goldie the unicorn to come with her to school.  The teacher says yes but with one condition: Goldie must follow the school rules.

This book shows kids the importance of following rules in school.

My Teacher is the Tooth Fairy

7.  My Teacher is the Tooth Fairy! by Mary Smith –  Harold is often caught by his teacher daydreaming in school.  Then he dreams that his teacher is the tooth fairy who makes a deal with him.  And because he wants a new bike so badly,  he starts wishing for all his teeth to fall out.

This book will teach your kids that it is okay to wish for something they like, but make sure they don’t take school for granted.

David Goes to School

8.  David Goes to School by David Shannon – David is one type of student who couldn’t keep still and who would surely keep a teacher busy.  However, at the end of the day he is just like any other kid in class who deserves to be loved.

This book, which is my most favorite book to read aloud to my little kids, reminds me of why teaching is such an important calling.

I’m sure we all have our favorite read-aloud books with back-to-school themes.  Please feel free to share what those books are.  I would love to hear from you!

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Book images source: www.amazon.com

The Best Day Ever: Activities and Centers that Support Independent Writing

This week my kids learned about autobiography.  You bet it’s a big word to learn especially that most of them are English language learners with beginning reading level.  The first thing I had to do then, was to get them acquainted with the term.  I devised a game, which I dubbed as “Say it Right, Do it right.” The game requires them to say “auto” and “biography” alternately, each with different gesture, and whoever does not say it right with the right gesture during the game gets eliminated and goes back to his/her seat.  I did this, pointing to each kid alternately until everyone else, except one, is back on their seats.

Let me tell you this.  At the end of the game, the word just got stuck in their minds, a few of them were still saying the six-syllable word happily while lining up for dismissal.

My agenda for the day went like this:

Whole Group Activities/discussion

  • Say it Right, Do it Right game
  • Introduction to Autobiography (using an Anchor Chart with definition and short example with focus on use of pronouns I, Me, My)
  • Review of Phonics lesson: short /o/ (which I had to include as part of the summer reading program)


I created three learning stations for my 12 kids with four members in each group:

  • Writing Center – (It is necessary to place the strongest group of kids in this center during the first rotation; they are the ones who need less teacher support.)
  • Phonics/Vocabulary Center
  • Reading Center –  (This is where I am stationed so that I can guide them into reading and comprehending the text that is appropriate for their reading level.  This is also the time I provide more details about an autobiographical text).

To apply their learning, they wrote about their best day ever, just simply titled “The Best Day.”  In the Writing Station, I wrote the instructions and provided the template with an example.  I also have a word bank for them.  The center has markers, crayons, and papers – all they needed to complete the task.

The Best Day writing assignment

The Best Day writing assignment-2

     So far, I am quite satisfied with what they have done.

My kids at the phinis:vocabulary center

My kids at the Phonics/Vocabulary Center

Me at the Reading Station

Me with my kids at The Reading Station

This is Summer school and I just make the most out of the very few resources that are provided to me.  The classroom is bare of any decorations, and it is okay.  It is, after all, Summer.

Happy Summer!

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