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

  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

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.


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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Christmas Bulletin Boards

Who doesn’t love Christmas? As a teacher, Christmas is exciting, fun, and EXHAUSTING. You want to have a fun time yourself, but also know you have to make sure your students are having a blast!


I do want to state that I know not all students in your classroom probably celebrate Christmas. This year, all of my students do! To take advantage of this, my teaching partner and I went all out in our decor!

Aside from our extravagant boards, we also did many other fun Christmas things in the classroom that we hope will leave lasting memories for our students! I have a Youtube video on all things Christmas in the classroom that is linked below!

  • Elf on the Shelf
  • Gingerbread Houses
  • Ornaments
  • Bulletin Boards (duh)
  • Christmas Units
  • and MORE!

Now, let’s get to the bulletin boards. It took us FIVE HOURS to do this after school! We had AMAZING help and honestly never would’ve been finished in five hours without the help!

NOTE: You can add paper and all this decor OVER your original boards! This will save you time once the Holiday/winter time is over and the boards need to come down!

Santa’s Sleigh

This bulletin board is Santa’s sleigh with presents filled full! After taking this picture, we also added the words, ‘Learning is a Gift’. After this, I still thought it needed something else. My education aid suggested we should add some reindeer. So, I had my students color reindeer and we added them all over the board! It turned out SO CUTE.

Frosty the Snowman

This board is personally my favorite of all the boards in my room! My educational aid did an AMAZING job at cutting out Frosty and his nose, scarf, and hat! We knew we wanted to add snow in some way, but we actually added the bound of snow below him at the bottom!


This board is actually in my teacher partners room. We never imagined it to turn out THIS GOOD. Once students came the next day, they got to design their own stocking which she then hung on the fireplace mantle! They loved being able to help with the Christmas decorations and loved that it was their own designs.

My teaching partner found the ribbon at Target and I think it added the best touch. For the fireplace, our educational aid used a tissue box to make it look like brick!

Let it Snow

If you can get past the clutter, this is another cute board! I had initially wanted the snow to be all over the board, but couldn’t pass up how cute it would be as boarder. Along with many of the other boards, we let the kids help! I found a snow globe template online and let the kids design their own snow globe and color it. It may be my favorite AFTER the snow globes were added!

This is a board I will leave up through the winter!

Christmas Tree

This is the last bulletin board that we decorated! I took this picture before it was fully completed, but it is so cute! We added bows to the presents like mine have on my board, snow in the window, and the kids signed their names on the ornaments on the tree! Who doesn’t love a tree beside the fireplace?


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Gifts for the Disney Lover- Small Biz Edition

Two things I love- Disney and Etsy.

It was honestly hard to not buy EVERYTHING on this list, although my husband would say I have PLENTY of Mickey ears.

I would personally say these are great gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or ANY reason to give a gift!

  1. Large PERSONALIZED Clear Cosmetic Bag ($19+)
  2. Mickey Mouse Gold Earring Studs ($20)
  3. Disney Castle Fanny Pack ($35)
  4. Personalized ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ T-shirt ($15+)
  5. Disney Castle Coordinate Cuff Bracelet (25+)
  6. Disney Apple Watch Band (12+) I NEED THIS.
  7. Disney Ears ($8+)
  8. Mickey Ear Display Holder ($61+)
  9. Happiest Place on Earth Sweatshirt ($26+)

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Gift Ideas for the Teacher

Don’t forget about your teachers this holiday season or any occasion!

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  1. Teacher Lanyard ($25) There are SO many cute lanyards on etsy, and why not support a small biz? Etsy Shop: bythegraces
  2. Flair Pens ($20)
  3. Starbucks Gift Cards ($25 or $40)- One gift card of $25 OR 4 gift cards of $10
  4. Teacher Notepad ($12)
  5. Teach Sweatshirt ($33) Etsy Shop: thenotsobasicteeco
  6. Teacher Tote ($40)

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Stocking Stuffers for Kids

I cannot wait until the day I am picking out stocking stuffers for my kids!

These fun stocking stuffers from Amazon and Target are ideas based off of my students interests that I’ve seen/heard in the classroom… and some that I may have loved when I was little!


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  1. Bath Crayons
  2. Fidgets (I also love these squishy fidgets)
  3. Slime Kit (Or play-doh if slime is a NO)
  4. Twinkle Star Pillow
  5. Mini Brands Surprise
  6. Lip Smacker Coke Chapstick (12 Count)
  7. Tamagotchi Pet Pix (PLEASE tell me you remember these!)
  8. Rad Rainbow Craft Case (ONLY $25!!)
  9. Grow in Water Toys (Animals)

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Gifts for Her- Homebody Edition

I am a FULL FLEDGE homebody… like, home ALL OF THE TIME. I would rather be home than ANYWHERE.

So, just know you are getting gift ideas from the pro herself.

These are the PERFECT gifts for a homebody or anyone who loves to have a cozy night in.


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  1. Warm Cozy Candle
  2. Snuggie
  3. UGG Slippers
  4. Blue Light Glasses (ONLY $9 for four!!)
  5. Cozy Sweatsuit
  6. Warm Cozy Coffee Mug
  7. Barefoot Dream Blanket (Or a dupe link here)
  8. Bath Bombs (Set of 12 for $27!!)
  9. Sherpa Bean Bag Chair

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Holiday Gifts for the Fitness Girl

We all know EVERYONE will be setting their New Year resolution to be healthier.

Why not go ahead and get them on that track?

Or, buy for someone you know already know loves fitness!


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  1. Biker Shorts (Amazon Link, Aerie, Lululemon) Pictured is the 5″ pink.
  2. Hydro Flask Water Bottle (Color Fog in the picture)
  3. Apple AirPods Pro (Amazon Link OR Apple Link)
  4. Amazon Elliptical (I actually have this one and the only con is the loudness, but for this price, I’ll take it!)
  5. Lulu Dupe Sports Bra
  6. Obvi Protein Powder (Use code ABBYROSE for 15% off)
  7. Ankle Weights
  8. Nike Women Air Max 270 Tennis Shoes (Amazon Link OR Finish Line Link)
  9. Leggings (23!!)


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Stocking Stuffers for Men

I think men are quite literally the hardest to buy for around the holidays!

With this gift guide, I hope this makes it easier to buy stocking stuffers for your husband, dad, or whoever you are buying for!

Some of these would also be great to be wrapped up instead of being in the stocking!


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The Santa Suit Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are NOT any spoilers in this book review! You can read the post entirely!

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The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Length: 207 Pages

  • Fiction
  • Holiday-Christmas
  • Romance

Book Description:

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love- but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of the closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit- beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.


My Feelings:

If you read my previous blog post, The Top 6 Christmas Books I WANT to Read, you would know that I said this book was SHORT.

Although I was wrong about it being only 100 pages, it was still very short and a good quick read!


This is such a good read for SO MANY reasons:

  1. It’s short which makes a good read before you go to bed at night. (I finished within three days just by reading before bed)
  2. We LOVE a boss lady! The main character, Ivy, is divorced and such a strong, independent woman! It was a fun read to see how dedicated she was to fixing up the old farmhouse. She almost reminded me of myself with her love for her pets and making sure they were taken care of (well, and talking to them 24/7).
  3. I never expected how the story would play out! I mean, I thought I knew, but I didn’t really know. If you have read my posts before, then you know I cannot stand knowing how the story will play out before I even read it (anxiety alert). With this one, you sort of have an idea, but the ending will surprise you and make you smile!
  4. Ivy is very kind hearted! Not only does she love her animals, she is nice to EVERYONE in her new town! The story replicates such a small town and how everyone really does know everybody. She becomes friends with anyone and everyone she crosses: the old man, her Realtor, the worker she eventually helps out, and her closest friend that has a strange relationship!
  5. Who doesn’t love such a sweet guy? I won’t give anything away since there are different relationships in this book, but one in particular I think is so sweet!
  6. The Holiday vibes are IMMACULATE. Everything about this story had me in the Christmas spirit and excited for the Holiday! The snow, decorations, and festive activities around the town made me feel so cozy!

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Stocking Stuffers for Her

As pretty as those stockings are on your fireplace, TV mantle, or wherever you hang yours, they eventually have to come down and be filled up!

Let’s all make sure we aren’t late on getting those stocking stuffers this year! I know I usually am.

I have gathered up many ideas for stocking stuffers for ‘her’ whether it is for your wife, mom, girlfriend, or whoever you are shopping for!

Amazon and Target are some of my favorite places to go for stocking stuffers and where I shop year after year! This year, I want to be more mindful and shop other places too!


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Amazon Holiday Gift List

Need an easy way to get your Christmas lists shared throughout the family?

Amazon is one of the easiest ways to do this.

Through creating an Amazon Holiday gift list, you can easily manage and share the list of ideas with everyone in the household or who needs your list!

Simply follow this link to be able to learn more and begin creating your list!


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Gifts for the Book Lovers

Do you have someone to buy gifts for that LOVES reading? Well, I have you covered!

Hey, maybe you are buying yourself a gift. That’s always a good idea! If you are a book lover, you have come to the right place!

I promise you that these gifts will make your book lover friend, spouse, or self EXTREMELY happy.

*As an Amazon Associate, I do earn commission through qualifying purchases. #CommissionEarned*

  1. Kindle

The first thing that comes to my head is a Kindle! What book lover doesn’t want a Kindle?

They can take it ANYWHERE and read at ANYTIME.

Of course, do your research before buying just ANY Kindle. They all offer different things and the price varies. Don’t know much about a Kindle? Read my blog post here that gives more deets.

Have a child that LOVES to read? They have a Kindle for the little ones too!


2. Book Lights


A book light can be something you clip onto your book, shirt, blanket, or whatever you want to that will help you see your book at night.

There is also a book light that goes AROUND YOUR NECK! You are KIDDING ME?! It is only $19.99, I would say that is a STEAL.

I LOVE reading in bed to make me sleepy and end a long day. I should have had something like this a LONG time ago. *Adds to cart now*


3. Bookcase

If you are buying for a book lover, they NEED somewhere for all of those books!

A nice, pleasing bookcase will make anyone happy to have all of their books showcased.

Plus, wouldn’t you be happy to see all those books around the house have a home? SAME.

I have linked one of my favorites from Amazon. It is my favorite because there are different color options, it is reasonably priced, and is a good size! (The antique white is my favorite)

Of course, there are TONS of options for bookcases, I just thought I would share a good option!


4. New Releases

I can’t think of a better gift than NEW books!

My mom, grandma, and I all read the same books or at least the same type of books, so it is pretty easy to know what books they like! The only question is, HAVE THEY READ IT?

If you are buying a gift for someone, you can feel confident they haven’t read a newly released book!! The chances are SLIM.

You can check out my November book release blog here to get a few ideas on books! I also have a December release blog coming soon!


5. ALL Things Cozy!

I can’t think of any person who loves to read that doesn’t want to be cozy doing it!

Personally, I cuddle up with a blanket, a candle going, and a comfy pillow to read!

Does anyone remember Snuggies (AKA a wearable blanket)? I need to invest in a new one! I can remember using a Snuggie at my grandparents, reading in bed with my grandmother!

You can find me either cozied up on the couch or bed, of course!

My idea of cozy:

6. Reading in the Bathtub

Do you OR who you are buying for like to take baths? I DO!

Why not make your baths even better with a book?

Now, this COULD be a little tricky and could end badly. But, with a bath tray, I think reading in the bath sounds like a great idea!

Whether you, or friend, has a Kindle or reading a paperback, a bath tray will be perfect to place them on! Grab you some wine, a bath bomb, a good book, and you are all set!

These CAN be expensive, but there are cheaper options on Amazon!


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