Back to School Read-Alouds

Back to school read alouds

Even though we are no longer in the classroom ourselves, planning back to school read alouds always gets us excited for a new school year! This year we are sharing with you some of our favorite titles that are not only fun and engaging, but also strategically chosen to spark meaningful discussions about three concepts we feel are the perfect way to begin the school year: growth mindset, perseverance, and building friendships.


The Thing Lou Couldn't Do Activities

We are big fans of The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.  For several years we used this inspiring story to launch our school year and discuss growth mindset with our students.  When we found out that Ashley Spires wrote a new book,“The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do,” we were beyond excited! We quickly added it to our read alouds! 

This story features Lou, an adventurer, who loves to play make-believe with her friends.  One afternoon, her friends insist on playing pirates up in the tree. Lou has never climbed a tree before, and she is convinced she can’t do it.  She tries to persuade her friends to play a not-in-a-tree game. When she fails, she comes up with reason after reason not to climb the tree. She even tries to convince herself that she doesn’t even want to play in the tree. Ultimately, she overcomes her fears and tries to climb the tree.  In the end, she fails; however, her efforts empower her to keep trying and instill in her a growth mindset.  Lou’s experience and feelings will resonate with students; and they too, will be inspired to take on new challenges with perseverance.

Just as with all of our back to school read alouds, this interactive read aloud lesson plan covers summarizing, character feelings, character’s response to challenges, a growth mindset writing prompt, and a craftivity.


After The Fall Read-Aloud

Beekle the Unimaginary Friend, by Dan Santat is another one of our favorites, so we weren’t surprised last summer when his more recent book, After the Fall, literally brought us to tears.  It is hands-down our favorite read-aloud of the year.  

This breathtaking and clever story will get students thinking about conquering their fears one step at a time.  In this story, Humpty Dumpty has a great fall.  He heals physically, but the emotional scars from falling still haunt him. His debilitating fear of heights prevents him from eating his favorite cereal from the top shelf, sleeping on his bunk, and bird watching. He longs for the skies, so he builds a paper bird plane. One unfortunate day, Humpty accidentally flies his beloved plane over the wall. Humpty frets about climbing the wall, but ultimately decides to conquer his fear one step at a time to retrieve his plane. In the end, something miraculous happens. We were genuinely surprised by the ending, but won’t spoil it for you. 

After the Fall will evoke wonderful discussions about getting back up after a fall and overcoming fear. In these Interactive Read-Aloud lessons students will sequence the story, ponder Humpty Dumpty’s character traits, analyze the connection between the illustrations and the text, and write about overcoming their fears.


I'm Not Just a Scribble activity

I’m Not Just a Scribble, by Diane Alber is one of our favorite back to school read alouds about friendship. This adorable, humorous tale teaches the importance of accepting others and being yourself.  In this story, Scribble sets off to make some new friends. 

Each drawing (character) he encounters, turns him away because he looks different.  At first, he has good spirits, but after multiple rejections, he begins to feel down. After a particularly rude encounter with the sun and clouds, he decides to stand up for himself.  The sun and clouds feel guilty and decide their standoffish behavior isn’t who they want to be. They apologize and invite Scribble to play. Their good example inspires the other drawings to be accepting, and they all work out their differences for a happy ending. 

Our Interactive Read-Aloud lesson plans navigate Scribble’s feelings and reactions throughout the story and get students writing about feelings and accepting others for who they are.


The Sandwich Swap Read-Aloud

We fell in love with The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania as soon as we read it. There are so many great lessons to learn from this story. It teaches about friendship, trying new things, and about cultural diversity. 

The story is about two girls from different cultural backgrounds who are best friends at school. They do everything together! Every day they eat lunch together, and they both eat sandwiches. One day, one girl tells the other girl that she thinks her sandwich is gross and this spirals into a big fight. They eventually find out that it is okay to like different things and that you should try something before you say you don’t like it. 

Our text dependent questions will get your class discussing the topics of friendship, trying new things, and accepting people from different backgrounds. Our Interactive Read-Aloud lesson plans cover story elements, cause and effect, and get your students writing about times they tried new things. You and your class will love this as part of your back to school read alouds!


The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes Activities

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Gary Rubinstein and Mark Pett is another great book for the beginning of the school year. This book teaches the importance of making mistakes.  It is a great springboard for class discussions about daring to make mistakes. The girl in this book had never made a mistake, but at the same time she never dared to try anything new. She really wasn’t happy living this way, but she didn’t want to admit it. When she finally made a mistake she didn’t know what to do, so she started laughing. 

After she made that first big mistake she started trying new things and wasn’t afraid of making a mistake anymore. Our text dependent questions will get your class discussing the importance of making mistakes and learning from them.  

Our Interactive Read-Aloud lesson plans teach beginning, middle, and end, the girl’s character before the mistake and after, and will get students writing about a time when they made a mistake and what they learned from it.  

Your students will love these back to school read-alouds, and you will love meeting so many Reading Literature Core Standards! Each read-aloud comes with a scope and sequence so you can see what standards are being taught. 

We also have two additional Interactive Read-Aloud bundles packed full of titles that are perfect for back-to-school. Check out all the individual titles by clicking on the links below. 

Fall-Themed Read Aloud Favorites


We'd like to send you a free interactive read-aloud that is easy to use in either a print or digital format!

No spam, just our best classroom ideas. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

You may also like...

The Core Coaches

The Core Coaches

We are 3 teachers who have set out to make your day a little easier. One rigorous lesson plan at a time.

Teachers! Join our Email List to Get Free Stuff!

We’ll never spam you, instead we’ll keep you in the loop when lesson plans and activitiesare available!