High School Read Alouds: Books For Fun!

If you search book lists on our blog you’ll find multiple posts full of lists and lists of good read alouds, books for certain subjects, etc, etc. This blog is chucked full of book lists! What it’s missing is a list of read alouds for high school. I’m not talking books approved for English class to read and pick apart, but just a fun book to read to your students, no matter what subject you are teaching. Here’s my favorite list of chapter books you can read to your high school students. 

I Am Malala

What books do you like to read aloud to your high school students?

A Short, Sweet List Of Snowy, Winter Books

Snow is falling! Winter is here! I know for many this is discouraging and sad, but I am one to adore winter and the falling snow. So to excite everyone about the upcoming winter season, let’s come up with a great book list to get us ready for the snowy season. 

The Snowy Day: A Caldecott award book, and the first picture book to have a Black child as the protagonist. What a great conversation to have with students! 

Owl Moon: I can’t explain it, but you can HEAR the silence the snow brings in this book. It’s mesmerizing. 

Wolf In The Snow: This book with no words pulls at your heartstrings when you realize the sense of family and community both humans and animals have, and how we aren’t as different as we may think. 

The Wish Tree: I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my list to get at the library next time we go. 

The Polar Express: Okay, okay. I know, it’s a Christmas book. But the wintery feel of the train and the page of the book with the wolves standing in the snow looking at the train? It just lights up something in me that excites me for that fresh snow smell! 

Are you team snow or team no snow? Do you think reading fun books about winter and snow help change your attitude about winter? 

Favorite Halloween Books 2020

It’s almost time for Halloween! How are you celebrating in your town or school? Does it look different for you, or are things fairly similar? 

I can’t let a holiday go by without sharing my favorite books for the season! It’s just not in me. Here are my favorite Halloween books. 

The Legend of Spookley The Square Pumpkin. Maybe I love this book because my first-grade teacher (read about her here and how she gave me a love for books!) read this to our class on Halloween. But the message behind it is still great. 

Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini 

Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown By Charles M. Schulz because how do you say no to a classic?! 

Pete The Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean. I think there’s a special element of fun when a beloved, well-known book character celebrates the same holiday you do. 

The Dead Family Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle: it teaches about Day of the Dead from a unique perspective from the dead world side instead of the living world. It will also make you wonder if maybe the movie Coco stole some ideas and influence from this book….?

What are your favorite Halloween books to read to your class?

Great List Of Elementary Aged Read Alouds

I’m a sucker for a good read aloud in the classroom!! This post is focusing on read-alouds for elementary-aged students. Please also note that they are equally as good for middle and high school ages! But these specific books are age-appropriate for these younger grades. 

Picture books:

The Little House. It takes a talented writer and illustrator to give a house such expression.

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits. 

The Book With No Pictures by B.J Novak. For when you just need a good laugh! It’s also excellent to teach how words can be so powerful and important in reading. 

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Napping House by Audrey Wood. The rhythm of this book is so peaceful and nice, a great book when the class needs calming. 

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. I cannot read this book without shedding a tear! “I like myself! I’m glad I’m me. There’s no one else I’d rather be.” a message you really hope every one of your students knows. 

Chapter books:

Frindle by Andrew Clements

A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Such a fun series! I’m also a big advocate for reading the first book in a series to students in hope that they pick up books two, and three, and so on….

Nate The Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. Start them early with some good mystery books! 

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. My new favorite! It’s written in verse, making it a unique chapter book. It’s a great read! 

What are your favorite elementary school read alouds? 

Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play!

If you do a quick search on this blog of “talk, sing, read, write, play” you’ll find multiple articles I’ve written on the subject. I’ve referenced it many times, but I’ve never dedicated a post to truly defining what it is and what they mean. They are pretty self-explanatory, but let’s really break it down. 

Why do I use these terms together? These are the basic fundamentals for early readers. Reading begins long before preschool or kindergarten, and it’s through our interactions with them that these building blocks are put in place. 

“The power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write, but rather in a person’s capacity to apply these skills to effectively connect,  interpret and discern the intricacies of the world in which they live.’

-3P Learning

Talk– Talking with children builds vocabulary, tone awareness, and teaches them how to create and use sentences, and more. Talking, discussing, pointing out, and having conversations with kids teaches them all of these important skills. 

Sing- Singing words in songs can drag out sounds, making it more clear to younger ears to how the sounds work and are pronounced. The rhythms are catchy and easy to remember, and rhyming helps kids see word relations and sounds. 

Read- Obviously reading begets reading. It’s important for them to see words on the page and how they flow and work together. Read road signs, food labels, menus at the restaurants. Words are everywhere! Spending positive interactions reading with children creates a love of books and reading at a young age. 

Write- Writing doesn’t mean write out words and sentences. It means scribble, draw, and create art. These scribbles eventually become circles, squares, and lines, which then turn into letters, words, and sentences. 

“A child’s scribbles are precursors to adult calligraphy.’

– Briana at Carnegie Library of Pittsburg 

Play- Play is a child’s work. Play is where kids learn, grow, and develop. It is the most important task they can do as a child. Whether it’s for reading, writing, speaking, math, social skills, science, history, or more, PLAY is where they work. Read more about play-based learning here. 

Next time you’re overwhelmed by teaching your child letters or words or want them to have better literacy skills, please remember and go back to the basics. 

Talk. Sing. Read. Write. Play. 

Other Activities To Do Instead Of Explicitly Teach Letters

I’ve written a lot lately about teaching my daughter preschool. 

Read about my initial thoughts here. 

Read about the curriculum I’m using here. 

Read about a few things I’ve learned in the process here. 

While it’s easy to focus on learning letters during this age of a child’s life, it’s not the end goal. Here’s what I wrote: 

“Learning letters and numbers isn’t the goal of preschool. Playing is the purpose of preschool, and throwing in the letters and numbers is just an added bonus. I was reminding myself often that just because my daughter still didn’t know that R says rrrrrr by the end of two weeks, it doesn’t mean the two weeks was a fail. We played, we sang, recited poems and painted. So much paint! The purpose of the R unit wasn’t to engrain the letter or sound into her mind, it was to expose her to a new letter, maybe recognize it, and most important- to play.”

Today I wanted to make a list of activities to do with your kids beside teach letters (that can still promote letter awareness and learning). 

Paint. We are BIG advocates for paint over here at our house! Super washable Crayola paint is our go-to. Paint on paper, paint on windows, paint in the bathtub, paint outside. PAINT! Paint flowers, letters, silly faces, rainbows, animals, numbers, and more. 

Other artistic outlets such as coloring, cutting and gluing, paper folding, etc. 

Sensory bin activities with different fillers. I’d list them all out for you, but I’ve already made a post for that!

Play outside. Discover the world, and talk about it. Talk about the green grass, the blue sky. Wonder why dandelions grow in your yard but not the neighbors? (This was an actual conversation I had with my daughter. Maybe a sign that we need a little more weed killer??) 

Build with blocks, build forts, build with safe items from the pantry. Talk about bigger and smaller towers and the letters on the packaging or the colors you are using. 

The blocks featured are sumblocks

Go on a walk. Discover new places, see new people, and have different experiences outside of your home. 

Keep letters around your home to be involved in play.

I’ve said it multiple times in multiple posts, but never forget the fundamentals: 

  • Talk
  • Sing
  • Read
  • Write 
  • Play 

These five incredibly important points create readers. And not just a child that can read, but a child that loves to read. Let’s stop the pressure of children learning letters at a young age, and start creating reading lovers. 

A few more resources: 

Reading Before Kindergarten- Is It Really Necessary?

Tips On Activities With Young Learners

What Is Play-Based Learning?

“The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read”

Mary McCleod Bethune

Books We’ve Recently Added To Our Home Library

I recently added new books to our little home library and wanted to share some with you.

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai. I wrote about Malala months ago and what an impact she had on opening my eyes to new cultures. When I found a children’s book I could read to my kids, I knew I needed it!

Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman was also top priority on my list. My daughter is an avid Doc McStuffins watcher and in one episode they feature Bessie Colman and her accomplishments. I knew it would be fun to dive a little deeper into her history!

Who Was Jackie Robinson? A good old “who was” book! Are you catching on that we are trying to learn about people here? A chapter book is hard for my almost 3 year old to take in right now, but it has great information that I can pull from and teach her about Jackie Robinson.

The Hike was recommended to me by a dear friend. It ties in great science by labeling plants and animals subtly throughout the book, and shows great diversity, which is always important!

Addy A Heart Full Of Hope is an American Girl story about Addy, a girl growing up in Philadelphia during the Civil War. I tried reading bits and pieces of this to my almost 3 year old, but she lost interest and did not understand well enough what was going on. It’ll be a fun, quick read for me, and one that will sit patiently on our shelves until she’s ready to pick it up.

This Is How We Do It is a book so well loved by many! I hear this book recommended more by friends than most any other book. I have been wanting to buy it for quite some time, so once I decided to expand our library this week, I knew this one was on the list! We are currently on back order for it and anxiously awaiting it’s arrival!

Young, Gifted, and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes From Past and Present was recommended to us again by a good friend. This one has by FAR been our favorite! The illustrations are ravishing and the information is incredible. This book again featured Bessie Colman, already a hero of my daughter’s, and Michelle Obama, who too was featured on Doc McStuffins. Simone Biles, Stevie Wonder, Rosa Parks, and Zadie Smith are just a few of the others you get to meet along the way.

I love the history, science, and diversity each of these books bring to our little library.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

Harry S. Truman