The one with read aloud books for upper elementary

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Previously, I shared some favorite read aloud books for fourth grade. Since writing that post back in 20??, I’ve made a few updates to my read alouds. This list represents the read alouds I’ve used in the past few years. My #1 favorite is at the end!

Six New Read Aloud Books to Try:

  1. Bud, not Buddy: Love this historical fiction book! This works as a mentor text when we talk about character traits, plot, and character feelings. Plus, the author, Christopher Paul Curtis, wrote a companion novel, The Mighty Miss Malone, and has many other novels. Resource: Bud not Buddy Bundle (discussion task cards, comprehension questions, & lapbook)
  2. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus: Aven’s character truly makes this book. Aven was born without arms and was adopted at a young age. When her family moves from Kansas to Arizona, Aven is forced to start over and make new friends while learning about herself. Besides strong characters, I loved the themes in this book: perseverance, friendship, and identity! Resource: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus Activities (includes discussion task cards)
  3. The City of Ember: I’ve used this for a novel study before, but while we were virtual, I ended up making it a read aloud. Just as engaging! This book is great for talking about setting and it’s a science fiction mystery. There are three other books in this series and it was made into a movie. Best uses: importance of setting, types of conflicts, character motivation, and pairing with nonfiction texts about electricity & energy. Resource: The City of Ember Lapbook
  4. Aru Shah and the End of Time: This book hit so many marks for me: adventurous, female Indian American main character, and Hindu mythology. Plus, it’s a series so at least ONE of my students had to get into reading the other books! Since using it as a read aloud, I’ve started listening to the audiobooks for the rest of the series. Mentor text purposes: character development, allusions, and figurative language.
  5. Fish in a Tree: Realistic fiction about a 6th grade girl (in elementary school) who can’t read. Ally is also a military child (her dad is deployed), which is extra special to my current school, with a largely military population. Ally journeys through learning about herself, how to make friends, and discovering why she has difficulty reading. The themes mirror Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus: perseverance, friendship, and identity. Resource: Fish in a Tree Novel Study Activities
  6. The Wild Robot: The first time I read this book was on audio. The audio is SO good that I tried to mimic the voices (especially for Roz, the robot!) while reading it aloud. This is a science fiction novel with very short chapters (great for keeping students’ attention!) in addition to fun pictures for each chapter. The number of uses as a mentor text are insane. Types of conflict, figurative language, importance of setting, character traits, character motivation, and theme (family & adoption!). Those are just off the top of my head. Resource: The Wild Robot Novel Study Bundle
Five stacked read aloud novels for upper elementary

Choosing a read aloud is challenging sometimes because you really want to hit along so many different points with your students. Besides being an engaging book, each of these has either a sequel/series connection OR multiple books by the same author that your students might be interested in.

What do you think about when you choose a read aloud? Are there any books you would add to the list?

Do your students struggle with understanding the genre of your read alouds? Check out these free activities (including a set of posters!) to help out your students.

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