Read Aloud Magic

After moving last year, I still have not been able to unpack all of my books. Yikes! One thing I missed at work this past year was having part of my personal collection available in my office.  I was usually ready to pull a selection of my favorites from my office shelf when teachers made requests for suggestions. I liked to loan my copies even if we had the book in the library collection because I knew that three days later students would be asking to check out what their teacher was reading. If you want to impress your teachers, check out extra copies from the public library and offer them to the teacher for some students to follow along. Going above and beyond in these little ways is one of the best advocacy strategies you can use.

I couldn’t do all of this last year as much as I wanted to because I didn’t have that magic shelf right there in my office. I’ve also realized that I need some newer suggestions for teachers as well as my go-to ‘classics.’

Here are five of my favorites plus Wonder, which is getting a lot of play on lists as being a new great book for starting off the year. I’ve read it and agree that it’s great for 4th grade and above.


What makes a good Read-Aloud book? The answer is simple–one that you really LOVE to read aloud. One of my previous colleagues loved to read Junie B. Jones. To her third graders. Junie B. is a bit beyond third grade readers, but she could do voices!! The students loved it and she made an impact on them as readers. That’s what matters the most. I get so excited to read Doghouse, Weird Wolf, and The Elevator Family even if they aren’t the most sophisticated texts. Students enjoy them with me because of that.  Despereaux has nice short chapters, characters who are instantly 3D, and challenging vocabulary. Riding Freedom is for all of those students who want to take off on an adventure!

Here are a few lists I’ve found recommending Read-Aloud books. I’m going to use these to build my new Resource Lists (using Destiny) so that teachers can quickly access my suggestions for their grade.

Read Aloud America has a list for 2012 as well as composite lists from their previous recommendations divided by grade levels.

Jim Trelese has lists available at his website as well as an online version of his Read-Aloud Handbook. Each week a Read-Aloud of the Week is posted.

Mulnomah County Library has a nice selection of books for different levels. I like it because it includes some newer titles.

At Goodreads, these books are tagged for Read-Aloud grouped by grades and purpose (such as reading for bedtime).

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