The one with my favorite fourth grade read aloud picks

If you’re here, it’s because you have the same question that I’ve seen so many teachers ask- what books should I use for read alouds? There are so many amazing books that it can be hard to decide. 

Here are my top six picks, including how they can be used as examples reading standards (besides just being amazing books ?):

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1. The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School by Candace Fleming: It’s always great to have a book that has “fourth grade” in the title. My students love to read a book that seems like it’s written just for them. 

Beyond the grade level aspect, this book is great for a few reasons- it has quirky and memorable characters (great for character traits and text to text comparisons) plus each story has one of the morals from Aesop’s Fables, which make great themes. With the first couple chapters, I usually have to guide my students to pick out the theme, but once they get the hang of it, it’s always fun to end each chapter by guessing the moral.

2. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo: Who doesn’t love Kate DiCamillo? This book barely needs an introduction (but I’m going to tell you why it’s amazing anyway!). The hook for my students is the dog, of course. Not that I blame them, because I’m kinda, sorta obsessed with my dog, so I LOVE dog stories. 

Why is it a great story for your classroom? It’s realistic fiction that provides touching characters for your students to connect with. I especially like using this novel to make inferences. Opal learns a lot about friendship and relationships throughout the story. I have also found that my students who have either moved around a lot or only have one parent really connect to Opal’s story. 

3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis: This book was read to me in fourth grade and I never forgot it. It’s that kind of book. Plus it made me want to devour the rest of the Narnia series. And that’s what it brings to your students too. Using a book from a series is a great way to get them hooked. 

What are the other reasons? This is a historical fantasy featuring the four Pevensie children. In addition to switching up the genre from the previous books, this book is full of symbolism (winter and the animals) and a variety of themes (friendship, good vs. evil, family).

4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson: “The Herdmans were the worst kids in the history of the world.” <– that sentence gets my students (and me) every time! I love this book because it’s short (perfect for December) and it touches on how Christmas is different for many kids. The narrator is Christian and grew up hearing the story of Jesus, but the Herdman kids weren’t raised in a church and are new to the idea of Jesus. This opens up a conversation about how different people celebrate holidays and families come from different backgrounds. I like to bring in additional picture books and investigate holidays around the world. Besides holidays, this book is also a great example of round characters. The Herdmans change over the course of the book and show how one experience can change a person. 

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling: I’m just a *little* Harry Potter obsessed. What’s so great about Harry Potter? Um, everything. This is another fantasy book, and again, is part of a series. If you choose to use this book in your classroom, I HIGHLY recommend getting the illustrated edition. The illustrations are fabulous and really draw in even the most reluctant readers. Some of my students even get the illustrated version from the public library to follow along and stare at the pictures even longer. 

Parts of this book to use in your classroom? As Harry is learning about the wizard world, he also is faced with a mystery. I use this novel as a read aloud during my mystery genre unit. We collect the clues as Harry does. This book also has great characters to explore.

6. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech: This book is a great addition to any poetry unit. This is the story of Jack, who hates poetry, and doesn’t want to talk about his dog, Sky. He slowly reveals what happened to Sky and learns about poetry from Miss Stretchberry, his teacher. This book is an excellent way to introduce your students to poetry, while giving them a character they can connect with. To read more about how I use this in the classroom,

Those are my top picks…and I’m always looking for new and different books to share with my students. What are some of your favorites? Share in the comments below!

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