10 Picture-Perfect Back to School Read Alouds


By Rachel Wells

Read aloud books that focus on friendship, kindness, and being true to yourself, can set the stage for a positive school year. Read alouds are a great way to facilitate discussions, and involve children in understanding their school expectations and values.

While reading any of these read aloud books, pause throughout to engage children in the topic. Ask them if they have any personal connections to the topic or characters in the story. Ask them about their feelings throughout the story, and the feelings of the characters throughout the story. Give them a chance to talk about what they would do if they were in the situation themselves. When the book is finished have your children retell what happened in the story. Asking these questions, and engaging with them, ensures that they are actively participating, and critically thinking about these important and relevant issues.

The list below includes 10 unique stories that your children are sure to not only love, but reference in future social situations throughout the school year.

I Can’t Do That, YET by Esther Pia Cordova

This awesome story introduces the Growth Mindset to children. Replace saying “I can’t do it” with “I can’t do it YET”.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

This book addresses common problems and struggles that children may face at school, along with how to cope with those issues.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

This book is a staple in many classrooms. The story teaches children about bullying, how to be a positive influence, and how to help others feel good.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

This is a sweet story is a must for younger children who miss their parents when they go back to school.

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

This book teaches children all about school safety in a way that will have them laughing as much as they are learning.

Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill and Laura Huliska-Beith

This story helps children learn ways to stand up for themselves and solve conflicts on their own.

Ruby the Copycat by Margaret Rathmann

This book shows children how special they are, and how fun it is to be yourself.

There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom by Louis Sachar

This is a great book for older children. It tells the story of a boy that has been labeled as having behavior issues, isn’t nice to others, and although he acts like a bully, has no self-confidence. Thanks to a school counselor he learns how to believe in himself, even though it’s hard.

If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen

A creative story of what school would look like if the main character, a child named Jack, was in charge.

There’s Only One You by Kathryn Heling, Deborah Hembrook, and Rosie Butcher

This book celebrates diversity and helping children realize how special their unique traits are.

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