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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

September 3, 2008

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!

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!


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.

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"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them." —

Arnold Lobel