5 Essential Back to School Read Alouds

Well summer is winding down and here in Wisconsin most students go back to school tomorrow, Sept 1st. I tend to do LOTS of read alouds the first few weeks because it is one way that I can get my kinders to sit still for more than 2.3 seconds, and it is a great way to practice expectations in group settings. Although I have a basket of about 50+ back to school books, I thought I'd share 5 of my favorites that you may not have heard of before. 

#1.What if Everybody Did That? By Colleen M. Madden 

I first read this book when someone suggested it for Earth Day, which it is great for, but it is also PERFECT for back to school because of this page right here: 
See all of those kids blurting out every adorably crazy little thought running through their brain? Yeah that's pretty much what the first kindergarten read aloud looks like every year. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to a five year old why they can't share something that is just SOOO important to them, but this book really shows students what it would be like if everyone didn't follow the rules.

#2. The Name Jar By Yangsook Choi 

Although it can be quite sad, I love the message in this story. 
The main character in this book just moved to the country and has a traditional Korean name that she is bullied for and feels very ashamed. She even decides to change her name, but luckily one of her classmates discovers how special her name is and she feels encouraged enough to be proud of her name, its meaning, and where she is from. 

#3. My Mouth is a Volcano By Julia Cook

Okay back to those kiddos that just HAVE to tell you every SUPER important thing and can't bear to wait...yes this is one of the things that makes me crazy.  (Not because I don't want to listen, but because it can suck soooo much time out of your day!) Here is another super great book for addressing this problem.
I love how it really describes the feelings that Louis, and many young children get when they are so excited to share something. But then the tables turn and the sweet boy that loves to talk constantly learns that it is no fun to be interrupted when you are sharing, so he learns to respect others through listening.

#4. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun By Maria Dismondy

This book is great for introducing the topic of bullying. Lucy is being bullied by Ralph and it is just so sad to watch her be so hurt.
She is just so sweet and always wants to do the right thing, so when her bully is in trouble instead of joining the other kids in laughing, she decides to help him.  Such a great book for discussing the importance of making good decisions even when they may be very challenging.

#5. Don't Squeal Unless It's a BIG Deal By Jeanie Franz Ransom

Tattling...UGH! This might be one of the hardest things to explain to 5 year olds.  When everything IS  a big deal in their little kindergarten mind, how do you teach them when it is and isn't okay to tell an adult.
This book puts a funny twist on tattling so the kids really enjoy it and seem to get it at least a little bit.

I love that throughout the year I can always refer back to these characters as an anchor to situations.  When my lovelies aren't being so nice I remind them how Ralph treated Lucy. When that one special friend can't seem to control his blurting out, I remind him how Louis felt when he was interrupted.  Having these shared stories to look back on really cuts down on the need for lengthy discussion to address behaviors that make me crazy, so I hope that you will find them helpful too!

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