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Thanks so much to all who made suggestions. After meeting with a committee
of teachers, I promised I would work on making a great read aloud
bibliography over the summer. I will share that with all of you, too, and if
titles suddenly occur to you or you read something outstanding in the
meantime, feel free to send me a fast message (and let me know if I can
credit you with the idea).


Thanks again!



My original post:

 I attend as many of the grade level teacher meetings in my building as I
can. A common complaint I hear is that when teachers select a novel to read
aloud to the class, many students claim they have already read it/heard it.
I volunteered to try to provide a bibliography that might help with this
problem, though I was sure to tell teachers that I cannot prevent a child
from checking out a title because in some future year it will be a class
novel or might be a read aloud choice of his teacher!


Therefore, I am looking for suggestions of titles that would make great read
alouds but that are NOT commonly used as class novels or are on everyone's
radar (such as Sarah, Plain and Tall or Holes). Here at my school, the
following titles are used as class novels so are instantly out: 

2nd gr.: Bunnicula, The Paint Brush Kid, The Courage of Sarah Noble, Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web, The Trumpet of the Swan

3rd gr.: Freckle Juice, Stuart Little, The War with Grandpa, The Mouse and
the Motorcycle, Little House on the Prairie

4th gr.: Number the Stars, Dear Mr. Henshaw, Caddie Woodlawn, From the
Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Family Under the Bridge

5th gr.: Esperanza Rising, Because of Winn-Dixie, A Year Down Yonder, The
Good Dog

(I do not agree with the suitability of all of these titles for the grades
that use them; however, a committee of teachers decided on these just after
I was hired and I had no chance to provide input.)


If you could suggest titles for ranges of grade levels, that would be even
better. I know I am personally reluctant to recommend books that I have not
read myself, but feel free to do so yourself if you know someone who had
great success reading a title aloud.


Just to get the ball rolling, books I read and think would be great that are
often overlooked include: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (4-5), Toning the
Sweep by Angela Johnson (6+), The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
(6+), The Incredible Journey by Shelia Burnford (4-5) , My Life in Dog Years
by Gary Paulsen (4+) and The Time Bike (3-5) by Jane Langton




One that comes to mind that my 5th grade students enjoyed is : Save Queen of
Sheba by Louise Moeri. It fits with our 5th grade social studies standards.
Hope this helps!


The description is: After miraculously surviving a Sioux Indian
raid on the trail to Oregon, a brother and sister set out with few
provisions to find the rest of the settlers.

The second grade teachers reported that their students loved My Father's
Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett.  Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown was a big hit
when I read it a few month's ago, but some teachers might be using that for
letter writing lessons.   I also use Dick King-Smith's stories, because
everyone is familiar with Babe, from the movie, but the books rarely get
checked out.


Oh, and for older kids, Toad Rage, by Morris Gleitzman.  It works better as
a read-aloud, because the teacher can explain all the Australian



My fourth graders love Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix and
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.



Titles that come to mind for older kids are Ruby Holler and Love That Dog.


Cody Unplugged was a fun read with 3rd grade.



How about Freak the Mighty around grade 4 or 5 and The Westing Game for
grade 6+?  I find these are often very popular for read alouds.



Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech (5th grade) Whittington (new
Newbery honor) by Armstrong (3-4th grade) Max Malone Makes a Million (3rd
grade) Gooney Bird Greene (2-3grade) Jake Drake series by Andrew Clements
(2-3grade) Beany series by Susan Wojciechowski (1-3rd grades) The
Penningtons (new Newbery honor) (4-5th grades) Meanest Doll in the World by
Ann Martin (2-3rdgrades)



Instead of trying to come up with something new, why not tell teachers that
a great book should be read and heard many times. Whenever I read a story,
someone will always says that he or she has read the book. I always say, "I
am so glad you have read this book; it's one of my favorites" or "I am glad
to hear that, this is a favorite book with so many children" or "It's always
good to hear a great book more than once" or "It was great wasn't it?" or
"Did you like it?", etc.  



What about Walk Two Moons for 5th grade.  My brain is on off right now, so
that is the only one that I can think of right now.



A wonderful book is Kate DeCamillo's Tale of Despereaux as well as her new
one, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. (I am now reading the latter
to 3rd gr.) They make great read alouds for 2-4th, and a novel for 4-6.



On My Honor by Marion Bauer is one I read to my class when I was a teacher
(fourth and fifth graders) 



You may want to try:


Grades 2 or 3

The Gadget War by Betsy Duffey (all of hers are pretty good) Mr. Popper's
Penguins by Richard Atwater Edwards, Julie Andrews.  The Last of the Really
Great Whangdoodles.  

Evans, Douglas. The Classroom At the End of the Hall. 

King-Smith, Dick.  School Mouse.   


Grades 4 or 5

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Poppy by Avi (All of the Poppy books are great) Castle In the Attic by
Elizabeth Winthrop Cooper, Susan.  The Boggart.  



Journey to the River Sea-5th grade (Ibbotson)


Bud not Buddy-5th grade (Curtis)


Moffat's series (3rd grade) --Eleanor Estes


Tuck Everlasting (5th grade)--Babbitt


Thief Lord-5th and 6th grade (Funke)


Anything by Richard Peck from 5th grade on up


These are some that have worked really well in our classes here. 




Stone Fox is one I've used with grades 3--5.  Has a tear-jerker ending;
great story.

Gooseberry Park I used with 5th grade.  Great dialog; interesting animal

Sign of the Beaver- used with grades 3-5.  Good story, but it's come under
attack as being not "politically correct" in its representation of Native




My husband reads to elementary classes sometimes--he started out as a para,
but then just became "the reading guy" at several schools after he stopped
working as a para.  He likes to read and just volunteers.  I'll CC him the
message to see if he can add anything further, but here are some things that
have worked for him.  Some of them are a little strange (some WAY above
grade level), but they still seemed to work.  Here are some that I remember



The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman--3rd grade The Phantom Tollbooth by
Norton Juster--5th grade (I


The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (believe it or not)--5th grade


I can't remember any more in particular, but here are some I remember fondly
from my elementary years:


Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls--4th grade Kon-Tiki by Thor
Heyerdahl--6th grade


I'll pass the message on to my husband (Adam) as well, and he hopefully will
have some other suggestions for you.  I'll send him the original post as
well.  Good luck!




Why not reach back to the oldies? Miracles on Maple Hill, Gone-Away-Lake,
The Gammage Cup.




we have something like this in my district.  We have what I fondly (ha)
refer to as the "forbidden list" which has a list of titles that other
grades use as prt of the curriculum.  Again, this was in place before I got
there so I had little input.  The upper grades pitch a real fit if one of
the lower grades violates the sanctity of the list and uses anything that is
on the list, or may be a sequel/prequel to anything on the list.




I have also had pretty good luck with...


Soup by Robert Newton Peck (a series of short stories featuring the same
characters. Written with a wonderful voice)- 3rd-4th grade


The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Esio Trot, The Fantastic Mr. Fox all by
Roald Dahl- I have read them to 3rd grade, but they would work for younger.


This one scene out of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
(a play) where the characters play "Questions".  It is fun to read and then
you get to play Questions with the kids.


Black and White by David Macauly (sp?)- It is a picture book, but 3rd-4th
grade have a good time weaving the 4 stories together.


The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien- 4th-6th grade


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber - 4th-5th grade.  This is
just a short story, but the idea is hilarious. There is one line that says
something like, "The old man ain't afraid of Hell!", but I just change that
to "The old man ain't afraid of nothin'!"


And of course I couldn't make a list of good read aloud stories without
including the Junie B. Jones series (up to "Graduation Girl", I haven't been
too impressed with the "First Grader" books so far).  That series is meant
to be read aloud.




Evie Kremyar, Teacher Librarian

Seton Catholic School

6923 Stow Road

Hudson, Ohio 44236

(330) 342-4200 (main office)

(330) 342-8134 (library)


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