Forming relationships with your students at the beginning of a school year takes time and effort. It’s important that your students learn to trust you before anything else. One way to gain your student’s trust is to form relationships with them through back to school read alouds. Even though reading may be something that your students do not enjoy doing themselves, they love when you take the time to read a book to them. It can spark many meaningful conversations at the beginning of a school year.
When choosing what book to read, it’s important that you take many things into consideration. Reading aloud is the perfect opportunity to showcase your personality as the leader of the classroom. The enthusiasm a teacher displays for reading can certainly have a positive influence on students’ feelings about reading, but choosing books carefully is also important. Here are 6 of my favorite back-to-school books for upper elementary.
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1. How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
When you ask students what they did on summer break, it’s likely that you’ll get the majority of the same answers. Traveled, went to the grandparents house, played video games, ate, slept and the list goes on. However, Wallace’s summer in this book is one like no other! This western fantasy book will have students laughing and bonding with their classmates in no time. This makes for a perfect back-to-school book because nothing bonds students more than rolling on the floor from laughter!
2. The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
Although this could be read for any grade level, I think this book is wonderful for upper elementary students. This is a time in those student’s lives when they are beginning to really figure out who they are and this book speaks volumes about that. The author does a great job of taking everyday objects and relating them back to our lives. Why is a spoon important to us? What can we do with a spoon? Students will relate to the poetic words and bright, colorful images as they are thinking deeply about the words coming off the pages. This book is sure to be one kids will remember long after reading!
3. Frindle (5th Grade) by Andrew Clements
To no surprise, Frindle has quickly become a loved book among students in today’s society! If you have never read this one, you are definitely missing out. The main character, Nick, is a fun-loving, high-energy, one-of-a-kind boy who you could say makes his own rules. He isn’t necessarily a trouble maker, but rather looks at the world in a unique and creative way. In this book, it all starts with a pen. Be sure to read it to find out what happens next!
4. Save me a Seat by Gita Varadarajan
It’s been said that Save Me a Seat is one of the best children’s books to be discovered and I would have to agree. Although this book does provide laughter, there are also so many tangible takeaways that students can learn from this novel. The author, Gita Varadarajan, does a wonderful job of showcasing how two individual boys that don’t seem to have a lot in common on the outside bond together over lunch. The characters are real and relevant so that any student can relate to what they are going through. This book is bound to start meaningful conversations as you start back to school!
5. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
One knows that bullying is an important topic in schools today and this book hits home on just that! This dynamic story tells of a rare friendship that readers will soon be encouraged by. As one can tell from the cover, the two main characters consist of an over-sized, problematic boy and a petite, physically challenged mastermind. The two of them form a unique bond like no other proving that anyone and everyone can be brave in their own way! That is exactly why this book is one of my favorite back to school read alouds!
6. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Everyone knows that sibling rivalry can be a real thing. Peter and his little brother, Fudge, prove just that in this hilarious novel. While reading this novel, there were multiple times when my class and I had to stop reading because we were laughing so hard! This book hits home for students because it is written from a fourth grader’s point of view. Judy Blume uses family dynamics and relatable narrative to convey this brotherly bond between the two boys!
There are so many great books to choose from. I hope these six must-have back-to-school books for upper elementary will bring joy, laughter, courage, and community to your classroom. If you’re looking for more book suggestions, be sure to check out my Must-Have Back to School Books for 5th Grade!
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