I love to start out my school year with Wonder. It really is a great way to teach students empathy and kindness for one another. I also love the way that it is told from multiple viewpoints and that the characters are very rich and complex. Both are important reading comprehension standards for upper elementary students!
This book is always one of my students' favorites! They love how a cold hearted bunny learns to love despite all of the obstacles he faces. I am always impressed by the symbolism that my students find as we read the book and I love the looks they get at the very end of the book. Pure magic!
Kate DiCamillo has got to be one of the best author's of read alouds for upper elementary! Every book of hers that I have read to my class has become a fast favorite. This one was actually the first read aloud suggested in Lucy Calkins' reading units for fourth grade, and it did not disappoint! It is a great way to teach about characters and how they change throughout a story. It is also a great conversations starter with so many themes including: bullying, fitting in, keeping feelings bottled up, loss of a parent, and whether wild animals should be kept in captivity, and more.
The chapters in this book are short and easy to read, but there is so much that goes on in each short chapter. My students always fall in love with Ivan and root for him right from the beginning. This is another book that stimulates great conversation about animals and how we treat them. It also ties beautifully to upper elementary standards with first-person narrative, literary devices, perspective, character change, and so much more!
I have been looping with my students for the past several years. During a round of 3rd grade, I purchased Rump to go along with our Lucy Calkin's writing fairytale unit. My students ate it up! When I found out that the author had other versions, I had to get them. My 4th graders loved the idea of reading another one of Liesl Shurtliff's amazing books when we read Jack. I have ordered Red and am excited to read it this summer!
I love using read alouds with characters that my students can relate to. The main character in this story, Georgina Hayes finds herself in the situation of choosing between doing what would be best for her, or doing the right thing. The situation in the story is not exactly black and white, and I love how my students wrestle with the idea that doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing to do. I teach in a Title 1 school, and many of my students have been in the situation of homelessness just like Georgina.
What are some of your favorite read alouds for upper elementary students?
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