5 Read-Alouds and How to use them for Instruction

I personally LOVE reading aloud to my kids, exploring the illustrations, and finding ways I can implement fun books into my instruction before or after. I am in a fourth grade classroom and have to be very strategic on what books I choose and how I use them! If you are in upper elementary, then you know that they act like they are paying their own bills and old enough to only read massive chapter books! I have found that they secretly still love reading picture books and being able to act like the age they are!

As an Amazon Associate, I do earn from qualifying purchases. Below, I have added links for these books on Amazon in which I would earn a small commission. #CommisionsEarned

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  1. Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima

The first book that comes to mind is Hardly Haunted because I just recently planned my lesson for this text. This book is PERFECT for spooky season with your kiddos! I used this in my fourth grade classroom and although the kids acted like they were too old for it, they loved it. Whether you this book for instruction or not it will be the perfect addition to your classroom library or for display in the October month!

I found there were endless possibilities in this book to base it around instruction, but I personally used it to teach onomatopoeia and have students identify examples of it within the text. Students were able to identify “creak”, “squeak”, “rattle”, etc. and it allowed them to firsthand see examples of this instead of just a definition they needed to add to their language arts journal.

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Onomatopoeia (Listed above)
  • Setting
  • Characters
  • Theme
  • Problem/Solution

2. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

This is another book that has endless options for instruction and is overall a must-read in your classroom! In my opinion, I would say this is perfect for upper elementary, but could also be read in the lower grades!

In my classroom, I used this book to teach theme. I explained what theme is, gave the definition, discussed theme vs. main idea, and then read this book for students to help identify what the theme of the book was. This led to a great conversation on perseverance and how we can overcome hard times and struggles!

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Theme (Described Above)
  • Growth Mindset
  • Persuasive Writing- Have students create their ‘most magnificent thing’ and persuade their readers why it is the MOST magnificent thing
  • Setting Goals
  • Idioms
  • Character Traits
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3. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

This is such a cute book for all elementary grades! Warning: your upper elementary students will 100% act like they did not enjoy this book, but the lesson along with it will make up for it!

In my room, I used this in a persuasive writing workshop. I read the story aloud, discussed the book with students such as the reasons behind why the crayons quit, and then began my writing workshop. In my room, I had all of our classroom chairs ‘quit’, students were given a prompt, and then had to persuade the chairs to come back. I got this idea from someone on Instagram, but changed the lesson and how I did things to fit my classroom. I will link my Smore below for the full writing workshop I did.

https://www.smore.com/5r04j

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Persuasive Writing (Described above)
  • Cause and effect
  • Using text to identify details
  • Text connections
  • Making Predictions

4. The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing

This book is also great for all elementary grades in November! Whether you are reading this to guide instruction or to just read to your students near the holiday, I highly suggest it! There are many books just like this one that would be perfect for the November month!

In November, I knew I wanted to incorporate the holiday in some way in one of my many writing workshops I was creating. When I came across this book, I knew it was going to be perfect for this. I was going to read and discuss the book with students and then begin my opinion writing workshop. I decided to turn this book around and have my writing workshop called, “The Great Turkey Escape” where students gave their opinion if the turkey should try to escape before the Thanksgiving meal at Grandmas or not.

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Opinion Writing (Described above)
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Retelling
  • Escape Room with any Subject
  • Story Elements
  • Characters

5. Balloons over Broadway: The True Story by Melissa Sweet

I found this to be the perfect addition to my classroom library because as it is a very cute book it also gives students the history behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This parade was always such a big deal when I was little and it is for most in your classroom too! When reading this book aloud, don’t forget some of your students may not have any idea what this parade is!

As you can tell from my previous books listen, I am big into writing workshops and I almost planned to incorporate this book into one too, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided it would make a great project-based learning activity. Before reading, I plan to discuss the parade and see what knowledge my have of it. Then, I will read the text and present out project-based learning. In this project, students will go through the process of creating their own parade float through theme, math word problems, and creating a newspaper article promoting their float in the parade.

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Project-based learning (Described above)
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Problem/Solution
  • Science
  • Forming a survey and using data in a graph

As there are MANY more amazing books that can be used for instruction, these were the five that came to mind and the ones that formed some of the most successful lessons in my classroom. I am a sucker for great books to read to my students and I am sure this won’t be the last list I create!

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