Wondering what stories to choose as your back to school books for your read aloud time? These books and read aloud activities help teach important back-to-school classroom concepts and help build a community and relationships with students.
Back-To-School Books and Read Aloud Activities
It’s that time of year again! Many of us teachers are ready to kickstart a brand-new school year full of excitement and learning.
A wonderful way to start any new school year is with storytime. Picking special books to read to kids is a favorite among many of us. Yet, you may desire new or unexplored back to school books to share with your class. Ones that help build classroom community, promote inclusion, and share positivity about the year ahead.
Let’s explore some fantastic books together and supporting read aloud activities for each story that will make the hustle of back to school easier to tackle and make your classroom feel like a family.
Table of Contents
- Back-To-School Books and Read Aloud Activities
- Back To School Time
- 3 Back To School Read Alouds
- 1. A Letter From Your Teacher
- Read-Aloud Lesson and Activities For A Letter From Your Teacher
- 2. All Are Welcome
- Read Aloud Activities and Lesson for All Are Welcome
- 3. Our Class is a Family
- Read-Aloud Lesson and Activities For Our Class is a Family
- Back To School Companion Bundle
- More Back To School Ideas For The Classroom
Back To School Time
When back to school time rolls around, those feelings of anxiety may appear. A new school year can always be a bit scary, and often, we don’t know what to expect as the first day quickly approaches.
You may wonder what your classroom management plan will look like, how to structure lessons for new students, and what resources to use during the first couple of weeks.
In the primary grades, picture books are some of the best resources you can use to teach all types of skills. From social-emotional skills to a growth mindset, books are a great resource to help teach, discuss, and learn from little learners!
Book chats are a great way to engage your students before, during, and after reading. Ask students questions like:
- What can I do to help you?
- What do you think this book is about?
- What does this letter mean to you?
By asking questions throughout the book, you are keeping students engaged and finding ways to connect with them, their thoughts, and their feelings.
Reading these books, however, is often not enough. Using read-aloud activities helps students understand the book’s concept at a deeper level.
3 Back To School Read Alouds
There are plenty of back to school classroom activities to try during the first weeks of school. During that time, read these back to school picture books and try the supporting read aloud activities. The books will not only help teach back to school concepts but also help you build a classroom community!
1. A Letter From Your Teacher
A Letter From Your Teacher” by Shannon Olsen is a delightful picture book designed for teachers to warmly greet their incoming students on that eagerly awaited first day of school. Through a heartfelt letter penned from the teacher’s perspective, young learners are assured that their new teacher is a friend with whom they’ll share a unique connection.
The story beautifully emphasizes that teachers are more than just educators; they’re also enthusiastic supporters, ready to cheer their students on every step of the way. Beyond academics, they create a nurturing and secure space where children can flourish, learn, and thrive.
Read-Aloud Lesson and Activities For A Letter From Your Teacher
Before you read, explain to students that the book you will read represents your own feelings and what you want them to know about how you feel and what you hope the year will bring.
After you read, ask kids to share ideas about what they want the teacher to know about them. This makes a great get-to-know-you activity!
Optional: Work as a class to write a letter to the teacher on the first day of school.
Looking for fun activities and supporting materials for the book? Try these read-aloud activities for A Letter From Your Teacher.
Our Happy Place Interactive Anchor Chart
Create an anchor chart that is interactive and allows students to determine what their happy place is, has, and sounds like. Students love to be a part of the anchor chart and love seeing their ideas written on Post-it notes and included on the chart.
“5 Things About Me” Apple Flip-book
Have students list their favorite parts of the school day, favorite activities they enjoy doing, favorite foods, etc., to get to know them better. Then, they can record their five ideas on the Apple template. Encourage kids to share their unique ideas so everyone can learn more about one another.
Letter to Teacher
Have students write a letter to you about what they are excited about, nervous about, enjoy doing, etc. Gather up the letters and find time to read them. This will give you quick insider information on which students need extra encouragement, insight into what classroom management strategies to try, or even what treats or incentives your class would enjoy.
Classroom Decor Posters
Help students feel comfortable and welcomed into the classroom with motivating classroom decor. Signs that read “Welcome” or “Be awesome today!” will not only help eliminate some jitters but also show students you believe in them!
2. All Are Welcome
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold is a picture book perfect for K-2 teachers. It takes you through a school day where every child is embraced and welcomed. Here, diverse backgrounds come together, fostering a community of learning and celebration.
This story beautifully showcases unity in diversity. It’s a reminder that classrooms can bloom harmoniously as young minds appreciate each other’s differences. The book paints a vivid vision of an inclusive world we strive to create—a world where acceptance and understanding thrive.
Read Aloud Activities and Lesson for All Are Welcome
Before you read, ask the class what they think the book will be about and what the title means. Ask students if they can make any connections with the title or what they see on the cover page.
Read the book together and discuss the different parts of the story and what they mean. Point out the illustrations and encourage them to notice different things.
Do you want fun things to do and extra resources to back up the book? These read aloud activities for All Are Welcome will help do just that.
All Are Welcome Interactive Anchor Chart
Create an anchor chart where students brainstorm and record ideas to show welcoming behaviors they can use throughout the first couple of days and the rest of the year. Some examples may be “introduce yourself” or “smile.” Go further and add things that are welcome in the classroom (different ideas, cultures, food, clothing, languages, words, stories, games, talents, etc.).
Welcoming and Unwelcoming Sort
Work together as a group to sort different scenarios presented on cards with behavior examples. Decide together which category to add each to, “welcoming” and “unwelcoming.” This activity is helpful for younger students because they may struggle with picking the correct behavior.
“I Belong Here” Writing
Encourage students to decide why they belong in the classroom and write about it. Ask them, “What makes them a great friend, student, person, etc.?” Emphasize that a sense of belonging is very important in the classroom and that we want every student to start their school career on the right foot.
All Are Welcome Storybook
Read the “All Are Welcome” printable storybook to learn how to welcome and include others at school. Have students color the pictures in the book and write about one way that they will include others. It is a great resource to send home with students and to have them read at home, too!
3. Our Class is a Family
Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen is a must-read for K-2 teachers. It forges a strong class community, teaching kids that the classroom is a safe space to be themselves, make mistakes, and be good friends.
With the inspiring story, teachers can foster trust and unity in the classroom, setting the stage for a year of impactful learning and genuine connection.
Read-Aloud Lesson and Activities For Our Class is a Family
Before you read, discuss what a family is. Ask the class what makes a family. Then, discuss the idea of our class being a family. Ask, “How is our class like a family?” Compare and contrast home and school.
Share the wonderful things about school and the class that make it feel like home and a great place to be.
Looking for book-related activities and resources? These back-to-school read-aloud activities for Our Class is a Family will help you connect with students and develop your classroom family.
“In Our Classroom” Interactive Anchor Chart
Set up an interactive anchor chart called “In Our Classroom” with three sections ‘do, say, feel.’ After you read the story, brainstorm and record words and ideas about what you do, what you say, and how you feel in the classroom. Encourage kids to think of the ideas presented in the story and to include their own as well. For example, In our Classroom, we show respect; we say, “Good morning!”; we feel happy to see each other.
School Directed Drawing
Whether you are drawing a bus, school, or any other directed drawing, there are many benefits. Use this school directed drawing to get students thinking about their school and what makes it like a family. After students are done drawing, have them write a short sentence about their school using a sentence starter.
My Classroom Family Writing
Get students writing those first couple of days with a simple writing prompt about their classroom family. Encourage students to look around the classroom and determine what makes this place and their peers a family.
“At School, I am” Craft
Discuss with students how they should behave in school and why behaving is an important part of our classroom community. Try to focus more on SEL behaviors like being kind, accepting, etc. Then, record these ideas as “I Can” statements on this fun school-shaped craft.
Back To School Companion Bundle
Love all three of these books? Book companions and activities for each are included in the back-to-school companion bundle by Proud to be Primary.
You will love using these read-aloud activities in your classroom!
- Our Class is a Family Read-Aloud Activities
- All are Welcome Read-Aloud Activities
- A Letter From Your Teacher Read-Aloud Activities
Storytime and read aloud activities are a great way to get students into the back-to-school mindset and help create the classroom community of your dreams.
If you like these resources, you’ll love my other SEL picture book companions!
More Back To School Ideas For The Classroom
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