Chapter Book Read Alouds in the Elementary Classroom

I have vivid images of sitting with my mom as a child, listening to her read about Laura's adventures from Little House on the Prairie. And in Mrs. Anderson's class, listening to The Borrowers. We, as educators, can introduce our students to a world they didn't know existed in a book. And if there's a series, they can disappear for even longer.
In the last few years I have tried to find some different books to use for my read alouds. I have not dropped picture books - those are so great to include and older elementary children still enjoy them! The last five years I have been in second grade, when students transition to reading chapter books alone. I wanted to find a way to get my students into a series, remembering the books I read through as a child.

At the Virginia State Reading Association conference this past March in Norfolk, I had the opportunity to hear several authors speak and have included their books here.

Kate Messner is the author of the Ranger in Time series, as well as How to Read a Book and the Fergus and Zeke books. Ranger in Time is similar to The Magic Tree House books, in that Ranger, a dog, travels to help children in various adventures. He goes along the Oregon Trail, New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, D-Day, and the Titanic, just to name a few. Messner includes history and research at the back of the book.

Katherine Applegate is known for Wishtree, Animorphs, Crenshaw, and my favorite, The One and Only Ivan. The group of second graders I had two years ago fell in love with Ivan. Ivan lives in captivity in a shopping mall and is used to humans watching him. The story is told from Ivan's perspective.

I picked up Gooney Bird Greene for the first time this summer. I don't know how I missed out on her! Gooney Bird had me laughing out loud from the very beginning. She is a wonderful story teller and I would imagine could inspire a student to do the same. This will be my first chapter book read aloud for this school year!

And this sweet story - The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I read this book two years ago and cried at the end of the story. My students had long before fallen in love with Edward and cried with me. I haven't used this book every year as it doesn't fit every group of students, but is still a favorite of mine.

The Wild Robot is a perfect book for middle grade readers. My daughter read it this past year and loved it and our librarian read The Wild Robot Escapes this past year. Robot Roz opens her eyes and finds that she is all alone on a wild island and must survive. The book has short chapters, allowing you to read as much or as little as possible at a time, depending on your schedule.

And The Royal Rabbits of London is the first in a series. Readers will meet Shylo, the runt of the litter, who becomes the hero after hearing about an evil plan and he has to protect the royal family.

What chapter books do you use as read alouds? I would love to hear about them so I can add them to my book wish list!

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