July 27, 2018

Picture Books for the First Week of School

There are bound to be hundreds of lists like this floating around the internet. Lists of the best read alouds for back to school. However, here is my list! These are my favorite books to share with my students for those first few days of school. Some I have read before, others will be new to me this school year. Either way, I can not wait to share them with my students!



1. All Are Welcome

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The theme of this is quite clear, all are welcome here. This is a message that we should be making obvious in our classrooms. Students may be in your class that do not look like you, but you still need to embrace them all. "In our classroom safe and sound. Fear is lost and hope is found". How beautiful! This is the type of environment I aim to build in my classroom.

2. School's First Day of School

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In this story we are walked through the beginning of a new school. The school is a little nervous about the children coming, even though the janitor explains it will be fun. When the school hears and sees students complain about school, he starts to feel bad and thinks he is awful. Your students will love seeing how school learns new things just like them! Click here to watch a video read aloud. 

3. The Name Jar

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Names are very important. It is crucial to be able to correctly pronounce your students names and have their peers do the same. I love this book for the first week of school because I love having my students learn about themselves and their classmates. Building relationships and respect is EVERYTHING. The beginning of this story breaks my heart, kids do not realize how cruel they can be to one another.  My goal as a teacher is to teach all of my students to have respect for one another and how to treat others. This is a perfect story for those values and embracing your uniqueness. Click here for a video read aloud.

4. Suki's Kimono

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This story is a little bit longer, so I would probably shorten it for my Kinders. However, it is the perfect story about being yourself. Suki's obaschan gave her the kimono to help her remember their special day. Click here for a video.

5. It's Back To School We Go

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This is one that I need to share, because it encompasses everything I love about read alouds. It brings the world right into my classroom. Follow 11 children in 11 different counties on their first day of school. After you can have your students share about their first day of school.Video here.

6. This Is The Way We Go To School

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This story was part of my reading series in a Kindergarten curriculum. I love the simplicity of it and how it shares how different kids go to school. I tie it in with talking about my kids come to school and go home. Great way to compare and contrast your school with another from a different country. View the video of the story here.

7. The Sandwich Swap


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Can we just appreciate how much students will love hearing a story written by a queen? Two friends are pulled apart by their differences, but quickly realize their mistake. At the end of this story their realize that their differences are really a good thing. I would love to have a diversity lunch to celebrate the cultures in my classroom. Have you ever done that? Click here for the read aloud.

8. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon

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"Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you." But on the first day at a new school, Molly Lou Melon runs into a bully. However, she is quick to show him how her differences are her strengths. Click here for an online read aloud.

9. I Like Myself

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This book just holds a place in my heart. To me, it is so crucial to help our students identify what they like about themselves. I pair this book with Marvelous Me and have my students complete a project about what they like about themselves. My county in PA has a high suicide rate and I am trying to do everything I can to combat that. This books helps me help my students realize their strengths. Click here for a read aloud.


10. We All Count

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Great book to introduce your students to Cree numbers. I am all about bringing more culture into my classroom! Click here for some pronunciation.

11. Disappearing Desmond

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Sometimes all we need is for someone to see us. A book can be a great way to connect students. Desmond and Gloria spend a day reading together and playing together the next. Gloria helps him forget why he ever wanted to disappear. It is amazing what reaching out to a new classmate can do! Click here to watch an online read aloud.

12. Violet

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This story is a great introduction of both race and mixing of colors. I often explain to my students that they are a piece of both of their parents. She is not blue like her dad or red like her mom. Violet is upset and confused. Her mo explains to her that it is what on the inside that counts. 

13. The Word Collector

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I love this story and I love Jerome! This is a story that I use to build vocabulary with my students. When we come across an amazing word we add it to our collection. Each day we go over the words that we have added. Start your year off right with this story and come back to it often! Click here for an online reading.

14. Be Kind

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Teach empathy to your students with this read aloud. Follow a little girl as she tries to find a way to help a classmate feel better. Kindness has a wonderful ability to spread across the world. Imagine if we all did one kind thing a day. Click here for video of the read aloud.

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