Using literature to set the tone in your classroom is a great way to kick off back-to-school season–even when your back to school week is online! This post shares the best read-alouds for back-to-school that work for in class and virtual learning.
PLUS you can grab some FREE printable and digital graphic organizers as book companions for your classroom.
*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.*
Why Read-Alouds Are Great for Back-to-School
Read Alouds for Back to School make me so happy! Sharing good children’s literature with my kids creates a special bond during that first week of school.
I especially recommend using read alouds for back to school with any form of blended or virtual learning.
Our students need us to help cultivate a strong sense of community even though we may be facing more long stretches of online learning.
Here are even more benefits to using read-alouds for back-to-school:
- You can use other characters’ actions as examples of what to do or not do in the classroom. This can help establish classroom procedures for back to school.
- Read-alouds for back to school set the tone for reading expectations in your class.
- They also give you a chance very early to take informal reading records of your students’ comprehension skills.
- Plus you can also use books to build class community.
- EVERYONE loves a good story!!
In addition to all this, they help set the tone for different policies or procedures in your classroom.
I have also included a FREE download of all the pages you see in each picture. You can grab those free printables HERE!
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite read alouds for back to school time!
Books for Back-to-School
This precious book showcases a list of things to do and NOT do for back-to-school time.
Even though the book focuses on classroom rules, teachers can use it to help students brainstorm learning rules for virtual learning.
For example, have your students collaborate and type Zoom classroom rules on a Google Doc. Or just have students discuss ideas directly through Zoom on what they should or should NOT do when learning online.
Mindset matters big time when kicking off the school year!
That is more true now than ever before, which is why I definitely recommend this book. Despite all the uncertainty, students need hope that this year will begin and flow better than how the previous school year suddenly ended!
Plus there’s such a sweet ending to this back-to-school read aloud. I love using it to get students to share their expectations of the new school year.
In the digital free graphic organizer that I’ve created, students will type their wishes and ideas of how this school year truly could be the best ever!
Bullying can be a tough topic to tackle, but this book makes it a little easier to dive into. Plus, it has a sweet twist of friendship included.
Which is great for building a class of kindness!
But what will recess even look like if you’re learning virtually? Although we don’t know the exact answer to that question yet, one thing we know for sure is that cyberbullying is very real and harmful–even for elementary kids.
Use this back to school read aloud to address the attitude of bullies. This will help your students learn the warning sides of it–even when they’re learning from home.
Even with my 4th Graders, I thoroughly go over the differences between Tattling and Reporting. This back to school read aloud helps me to introduce those expectations in a fun way.
If you have students learning from home with siblings, their parents will deeply appreciate you for addressing the differences between tattling and reporting!
This is also a great back to school read aloud for kids that may be learning in a homeschool co-op group or other creative learning situation this school year.
I have read this book as the first day of school read aloud for the past 6 years! And it still excites me every year–even in this uncertain school year with so many unanswered questions ahead.
Each class of students I’ve read it to for my traditional classroom learning ALWAYS show surprise with the twist at the end.
I also fully plan to use this read aloud to address the social-emotional aspect of teaching during a global pandemic. It will be very difficult to hide my deep concerns and fears as a teacher this year.
Your students do not need to know every single detail of your feelings, but they will definitely appreciate your honesty about having jitters during the first day and week of school.
Don’t forget to grab your free printables and digital version for some of the worksheets you see in this post. Just enter your info below to subscribe and download your freebie!
Showing respect for different diversities, cultures, and names is a BIG DEAL for me. I want my students to always show kindness to people even when they are different.
Plus, we are facing an urgent need for social justice and anti-racist teaching in schools.
Incorporating diverse books in your classroom that highlight different cultures and how to show respect to each other is paramount.
Related Posts about Anti-Racist Teaching:
Books That Teach Kids About Racism
15 Ways Teachers Encourage Racism in the Classroom
It cannot be ignored!
Starting off your first week with The Name Jar will help set the stage for inclusion of all students–whether you’re learning face-to-face or virtually.
As I’ve shared before, I use The Golden Rule as our main foundational rule in my classroom. This book is absolutely perfect for creating a dialogue on treating others the way you want to be treated.
It also lends well to discussing online learning etiquette. More than likely you’ll be using Google Classroom, collaborative chat platforms, and Zoom for virtual learning.
You will also definitely need to enforce social distancing in the physical classroom.
Here are ideas for how Golden Rule read alouds will help you with classroom management for back to school:
- Discussing ways to show respect during a Zoom lesson. “How would it make you feel if someone was being distracting on camera while you were talking?”
- Using the Golden Rule to help students process personal space. Some students will be highly anxious about following the 6-feet apart rule. Others will not. This read aloud will help students consider how it might feel and look to respect each other’s differences about social distancing.
- If students use Zoom without a virtual background, it will be important that they aren’t made fun of or judged for how their home looks behind them. The Do Unto Otters read aloud makes an excellent book to introduce rules about respecting everyone’s home space since the main characters are at home!
These are just a few ideas to get you started! I think it’ll be a fun book to add to your back to school read aloud collection this year.
Related Posts about The Golden Rule:
How I Use The Golden Rule for Classroom Management
Golden Rules Read Alouds
FREEBIES available on each post!!
This back to school read aloud makes a perfect addition to any books or activities you’re using to introduce your class rules and why those rules are in place.
Since the setting of the book isn’t in a classroom, it perfect for the school year we are facing where learning may be taking place from several different locations!
That will allow you to create learning rules that can apply to classroom and “non-classroom” learning.
How Can You Afford All These New Books In Your Classroom?
This is a question I get a lot from teachers. Purchasing books for our classroom library tops the list of most teachers’ concerns.
There are tons of ways to get book for your class. Here’s a full blog post detailing those ways: Cheap & Free Ways to Stock Your Classroom Library
I also use the Kindle Free Time Unlimited Program in my class. I pay for this out of my own pocket instead of using school funds. But it is WORTH IT!
I pay $9.99 a month to check out an unlimited about of books. Sometimes Amazon will even offer promotional deals that cost $2.99 a month.
Since I will be in high need of read alouds for virtual learning, I can download the e-book and share my computer screen through Zoom with my students.
Easy-peasy lemon squeezy!
You can try one month free through my referral link. This is an affiliate link where I will receive a small commission if you choose to use the link. This doesn’t cost you any extra though. Just click the image if you want to try it out.
I also use Epic, which is FREE for most elementary school teachers. (It’s not free for middle or high school teachers.)
It may be hard to find all the read alouds for back to school from this post, but at least you will be able to help your students set-up Epic accounts to read books at home.
Using both reading programs helps me to build my classroom library without it costing an arm and a leg!
Your Free Download
Just as promised, you get to download all the printables plus a digital version for many of the graphic organizers you see featured in this post.
Be sure to use a personal email because many school servers automatically block outside email addresses. Using a valid email address ensures that you’ll get your goodies! Sign up below:
I love hearing about new or different books that other teachers use.
Here are more Back-to-School Resources You Might Enjoy:
- Back to School Activities for Upper Elementary Classrooms
- 10 Fun & Creative Ways to Teach Back to School Procedures