For many of you, school starts soon. That means it's time to start thinking about back-to-school read-alouds. Here are some of our favorites.
Judy Sierra has written an imaginative story called Wild About Books. It's a story about a librarian who mistakenly drives a bookmobile into the zoo. Despite the mix up, the librarian manages to help every animal find the perfect book for them. The best part of the book is the rhyming throughout it. Sometimes rhyming books fall flat, but this one is clever and a lot of fun! It's ideal for K-2 students. To extend the activity, have students choose an animal to draw and verbally explain (or write for older students) what kind of book that animal likes to read.
The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town by Mary Casanova tells the story of the day a man named Dirk Yeller caused a whole town to quake in fear. One boy steps in and saves the day by introducing Dirk Yeller to the power of books. This book offers a bit of mystery and drama, which makes it a great read-aloud.
Another book to use is The Shelf Elf by Jackie Mims Hopkins and Rebecca Thornburgh. In this story, Skoob the Shelf Elf is starting a new career in the library after he left the shoemaker's shop. He learns all about book care and library etiquette in this rhyming tale. This one's a little lengthy, so it works best for grades 2-4. The book has very nice illustrations. You might want to put it under a document camera on your interactive whiteboard so every student can get a good look at them. Some schools have started using a Golden Shelf Elf award like the one in the book. They give the award out weekly to the homeroom that shows excellent behavior in the library.
Wolves by Emily Gravett blends fiction and non-fiction by telling the story of a rabbit who goes to the library to check out a book on wolves. As the rabbit reads and discovers facts about wolves, the wolf appears more in the story, helping kids get a visual of what it's like when they read a book to gain information.
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen is another fun book to read at the beginning of the school year. It's about a lion who visits the library and learns to follow the rules. This story is all about times when you must follow the rules and times when it's okay to break rules. The beautiful illustrations by Kevin Hawkes really make this a great book for young children learning about the library.
I Know a Librarian Who Chewed on a Word by Laurie Knowlton will have kids sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear the word that makes the librarian go crazy. When reading this book with kids, try to use funny voices, draw out the text, and add a lot of emotion to really make it entertaining.
Even though it's an older book and not directly related to the library, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes make a great read-aloud. This is a story about a little girl who goes to school and gets made fun of. It all happens because she has an unusual name. When the school gets a new music teacher with an unusual name, things start to look up for Chrysanthemum. This link is to the Scholastic DVD. Story DVDs can really enhance read-alouds and help kids see the book in a new light.
But Excuse Me That is My Book by Lauren Child is perfect for kids who want to check out the same book every time they visit the library. How will they react when they discover someone else has checked out the book? Charlie and Lola will help them figure it out.
We could go on and on about this subject, but we really want to hear from you! What's your favorite book that you always include in your back to school library lesson plans? Don't be shy! Tell us in the comments.