The Best 2nd Grade Read Aloud Books (with engaging companion activities!)

Are you looking for some interesting picture books for your 2nd grade reader? Well, look no further teacher friend! This post outlines the best 2nd grade read aloud books with matching activities that you can use in your classroom this week.

PLUS you can also download some free 2nd grade reading activities below!

*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which do not cost any extra for you. Please see the full disclosure here.*

What Do 2nd Graders Read?

Read alouds, picture books, and chapter books are often used interchangeably as if they mean the same thing.

But there are some key differences between them that impact 2nd graders.

Read alouds for 2nd graders can be any reading material that you read out loud while students listen. You can read shorter books and longer chapter books to your students.

Pictures books are highly illustrated, which means they have a lot of images. The pictures are usually an essential part of the story.

Chapter books or novels tend to be longer, with more words and a more complex plot. They also tend to have fewer pictures.

So, which one do 2nd graders read? ALL of them!

2nd graders are growing more fluent and developing more reading strategies that allow them to enjoy a range of different passages.

This blog post focuses on read-alouds that are picture books for 2nd graders.

Each book featured below also contains reading level information to save you some time with lesson planning!

What Makes These the Best 2nd Grade Read-Aloud Books?

Obviously, you can find hundreds–if not thousands–of picture books for 2nd graders.

So why did I choose these books?

As a former 2nd grade teacher, I think these characteristics are super important when choosing read-alouds:

  • books that can also be used to teach inferencing and using context clues
  • reading material that is rich with Tier 1 and 2 vocabulary words that students need to learn
  • 2nd grade read-alouds that also expose students to high frequency words
  • a moral or lesson that students can understand
  • diversity and representation that can appeal to different students
  • interesting and fun to read!

Not only do all the books in this list meet these points, but they are all on a 2nd grade reading level.

This ensures that your students will be able to re-read them independently or with a partner once you’ve read the story out loud to them.

So without further ado, let’s dig into these amazing picture books!

I have free printables for most of the books mentioned in this post. Grab them by signing up for The Butterfly Teacher Newsletter:

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again

This book is my favorite mentor text for teaching growth-mindset! I even read this book now as a 4th grade read-aloud.

Author Dan Santat does a beautiful job showing how the popular character Humpty Dumpty moves on with his life after “the great fall.”

My former 2nd grade students would happily yell out, “I want to read Humpty Dumpty Part 2.” πŸ˜‚

Book Details:

  • Guided Reading Level: M
  • Accelerated Reading Level: 2.6
  • Lexile: AD550 (Adult Directed)
  • DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) 24

Amazon Price: $9.99 Hardcover πŸ‘‰πŸ½ BUY IT HERE

I’ve used this book so much over the years that I designed a companion activity set with reading comprehension and vocabulary activities plus graphic organizers to make this read aloud more rigorous.

after-the-fall-book companion
If you’re interested in seeing the printables to accompany After the Fall, click the image.

The Bad Seed by Jory John

The next 2nd grade read aloud that I highly recommend is The Bad Seed by Jory John. My students adore this book!

If you have students who would be viewed as “bad seeds,” then this book could change your entire classroom environment.

The book shows the power of a changed mind.

I also use it to teach kids how to be empathetic towards others who are going through a tough time in life.

This read-aloud activity set includes reading comprehension + vocabulary pages with and without QR Codes. You also get printable sticky note templates for questions to ask students during reading. Click the image for more details.

Here’s some more information about the book:

  • Guided Reading Level: J
  • Accelerated Reading Level: 2.0
  • Lexile: AD390L
  • DRA: 16-18

Amazon Price: $6.81 Hardcover and $8.50 Paperback πŸ‘‰πŸ½ BUY IT HERE

I have free printables for most of the books mentioned in this post. Grab them by signing up for The Butterfly Teacher Newsletter:

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs

If you want a great book that teaches point of view or seeing things from a different perspective, you’ll love this picture book.

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs by by Jon Scieszka retells the popular folktale from the wolf’s point of view.

Even though the Accelerated Reading level is 3rd grade, the reading range is 2nd through 4th grade.

  • Guided Reading Level: Q
  • Accelerated Reading Level: 3.0
  • Lexile: AD510L
  • DRA: 40

Amazon Price $6.97 Paperback πŸ‘‰πŸ½ BUY IT HERE

Black is a Rainbow Color

This book by Angela Joy celebrates diversity through rhyming words and rainbow colors. It definitely makes the list of the best 2nd Grade read aloud books.

I adore poetry books that celebrate diversity! Students in 2nd grade need to be exposed to a variety of different reading materials and cultures.

The main character of the book is a little black girl who wonders why black isn’t a rainbow color.

She then goes through all the things worth celebrating in Black American culture.

So not only will you get to reference phonemes, rhyme scheme, and vocabulary in context, but you can also help your students of all races learn new facets of another culture.

Plus the illustrations are gorgeous!

I highly recommend this picture book for your students.

There isn’t a lot of information available about the reading level of this book, but here’s what I know:

  • Reading Age Range: 6-8
  • Grade Levels: 1st and 2nd
  • Number of Pages: 40

Amazon Price $13.89 Hardcover πŸ‘‰πŸ½ BUY IT HERE

Mother Bruce-Book 1

The final read aloud picture book that I think is great for 2nd grade is written and illustrated by Ryan Higgins: Mother Bruce.

Bruce the Black Bear ends up adopting (not willingly at first!) a group of goslings. The series of Bruce books take the reader on a journey of what life is like for this unlikely family.

For my students, it’s a hilarious book!

Since I believe in using literature to teach children about real life lessons, I also use this to talk about things like:

  • adoption
  • multi-racial families
  • compassion and empathy
  • sharing
To see the reading activities you can use with Mother Bruce, just click the image.

Book Details:

  • Guided Reading Level: L
  • Accelerated Reading Level: 2.5
  • Lexile: AD570L
  • DRA: 20-24

Amazon Price $11.00 Hardcover πŸ‘‰πŸ½ BUY IT HERE

More Tips and Ideas for Teaching 2nd Grade Reading

I have free printables for most of the books I mentioned in this post.

So if you already own these books, you can have these reading activities to go with them.

You can also find tips and ideas in this blog post:

Unexpected 2nd Grade Literacy Center Ideas Your Students Will Love

Happy 2nd Grade Reading!

The Butterfly Teacher

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