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Sound It Out
Dr. Joanne Meier
Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.
Favorite classroom read alouds
A friend and I were talking yesterday about the chapter books we used to love reading aloud to our second grade classes. We both have vivid memories of hot and sweaty kids coming in from recess, settling into their desks and our reading aloud for 10, 15 or 20 minutes (!) with the class begging for more chapters.
There's something so magical about the right read aloud. For second and third graders, classroom read alouds open up the mysterious world of long chapter books. Usually the read aloud book would be too much for the kids to tackle on their own, but they have complex enough story lines to satisfy the students' want for meatier tales. Most kids this age really want to move beyond picture books.
Here's a (very!) short list of great read aloud chapter books for second/third graders. Please comment in to add to my list! We'll create our own list and put it here!
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A "no-brainer" for this list. Each chapter ends in a way that leaves kids begging for ONE MORE! Even if they've seen the movie, there's nothing quite like this book.
- Mr. Popper's Penguins. With laugh out loud images of Mr. Popper and his performing penguins, this one never gets old. Many silly antics for your class to enjoy.
- The Magician's Boy is a terrific step into the fantasy genre. Released in 2006, this shorter chapter book is about a magician's apprentice who finds himself intimately involved in a puppet show of Saint George and the Dragon. I don't want to give anything away, but I bet your class will recognize some characters along the way.
There are lots of good resources about read alouds. Jim Trelease, author of the Read Aloud Handbook, has a list on his site, and we've got good tips on reading aloud. There are literally hundreds of suggestions out there; everyone seems to have their own criteria and opinions. Whatever you read to your class, don't forget…have fun! It's contagious!
Marty McGuire by Kate Messner
I would add that anything by Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is amazing and would work just as well. I read The BFG to my class with the same results.