A New Day of Learning: Top 5 Read Alouds

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Top 5 Read Alouds

One of my very favorite things about being a teacher is that I get to share my love of books with my students. My favorite way to share my love of reading is through read aloud. I know this is a best practice, but it goes beyond that for me.  In my ten years of teaching, it has proven to be the single most effective way to get kids hooked on reading.

After I read a book aloud, the children are beyond excited to read the next book in a series, another book by the same author, a book with a similar theme, or even one of the same genre.  This excitement gets kids talking about books and sharing their recommendations for a great read.

So, it is with great enthusiasm that I present to you my Top 5 Read Aloud List for 4th - 6th graders.  These are not in any particular order. I love them all for different reasons!

If you love any of the books in this post, click on the titles to purchase!

Number 5 - The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo is also the author of Because of Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie is also a favorite of mine, but Tale of Despereaux will steal your heart and have you rooting for the underdog.  That is part of what makes this story so magical.  Despereaux is a tiny mouse who defies the odds through this entire story.  His only wish is to honor the princess that he has fallen in love with.  Kate DiCamillo uses rich language and strong visual imagery to support her already intriguing "tail". (HA! Get it, tail = tale) (I know, mega nerdy!) My fellow fourth grade teachers and I love this book so much that we have chosen it as a book that all 4th grade students read.  We are currently reading this book and we just finished section 1! The students are dying to start the next section!

Number 4 - Something Upstairs by Avi
This book is a historical thriller that takes place in the present and in the past of Providence, Rhode Island. In this book, a boy finds a ghost, who used to be a slave, in his attic room  The ghost convinces him to come back in time with him to avenge his untimely death.  It is a little spooky, which the students LOVE! It catches your attention right away and my students couldn't wait until we could read it again.  The girls loved this book, but this book is one of my secret weapons to get  any reluctant boys in my class to read!

Number 3 -  Wonder by R.J. Palacio
First off, this book is HILARIOUS! We laughed hard and often as we read this book.  Wait until you get to the story about the farting nurse....you will laugh so hard you will cry! (And your students will think you are awesome for reading about farts!) Even though this book will tickle your funny bone, the reason I love it most is because it teaches empathy in a way that few other books can.  It is woven into the stories told from each character's point of view. Themes of friendship, perseverance, acceptance, and loyalty are evident throughout the book. (*NOTE* There are some parts of the book that deal with kissing and dating. When I read this aloud to my fourth graders, I left out anything I thought wasn't appropriate for them. They never knew the difference.)

Number 2 - Swindle by Gordon Korman
This book makes for a great read aloud because it is the story of two boys and their friends who appear powerless after a crooked pawn shop owner swindles them out of a valuable baseball card.  Swindle is the story of how they try to get it back.  A mystery of sorts, Swindle is also considered adventure fiction and/or crime ficiton.  The combination of those genres makes for a read that your students won't want you to put down! This book is also part of a series that your students will beg you to read! (Don't you LOVE it when they beg for you to read! It is my favorite! Well that, and when they clap at the end of a book. That makes my heart happy as well!)

Number 1 - Gregor The Overlander by Suzanne Collins
You have to read this book to your students! This is by far my students' favorite book that I read to them every year! Did you notice who the author is? That's right! Suzanne Collins is the same author that wrote The Hunger Games Trilogy! This series of books center around a boy who falls through a grate in his laundry room into the Underland where he discovers he is the warrior that the Underlanders have been waiting for. It is his job to fulfill a set of prophecies with his younger sister, Boots, in tow.  This book is action packed from start to finish.  After I finish this book, my students fight over the copies of the series that are in the library. This is another secret weapon I have to get boys reading! Although, the girls enjoy this just as much as the boys! Take my word for it and just get the whole series!

Happy Reading!

What is your favorite read aloud?


  1. Wonder takes my vote! :) I also enjoyed The One and Only Ivan... oh, and How to Steal a Dog!!!

  2. We are doing The One and Only Ivan as our read-aloud right now! I am sure that one will be on a future list. I loved it when I read it, but didn't want to recommend it as a read aloud until I actually read it aloud to students! Thanks for stopping by!


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