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My daughter’s third-grade teacher does something called The Mystery Reader, which involves a surprise visit by an adult who comes in to read with the class. I’m the Mystery this Friday (shhhh…don’t tell Molly!)

I’m looking for funny and engaging picture book read alouds for third graders. I’ve asked around my neighborhood and my teacher friends, and combed our own bookcases. I have a few ideas, but would love to hear yours!

Some possible titles are below; please tell me what titles have worked well for you! And, with our teacher’s permission, here’s more information about her “Mystery Reader” program:

The invitation and description (opens in a new window)

The reminder letter and request for clues (opens in a new window)

So far, possible titles include:

My fellow blogger on Page by Page (opens in a new window), children’s lit expert Maria Salvadore, gave me other suggestions, here are two:

  • Ever wonder what writing instruments do when their kid snoozes? Well, Tony finds out in Arthur Yorinks’ newish book Homework (opens in a new window) (published by Walker). Richard Egielski did the boldly outlined and colored illustrations just right for sharing to a group. (This is the author illustrator team that won a Caldecott for Hey, Al, though this is a very different book.)
  • A chapter from a Gooney Bird Greene book (any of them) would read aloud well — and 3rd graders might enjoy recalling what life was in 2nd grade. My favorite chapter is in the newest book, Gooney Bird Is So Absurd (opens in a new window) (Houghton), in which Mrs. Pidgeon introduces the class — including the principal — to the fun of writing limericks.

Update 11/16/09

It was SO fun to be the Mystery Reader! The class caught me in the hallway as I was heading to the classroom, so there wasn’t much of a “big reveal,” but it was still tons of fun.

I ended up reading two books about writing: We started with Homework that Maria suggested, and then read Chester (that commenter Jaymie recommended - thanks Jaymie!)

The kids LOVED both books, I think Homework appealed more to the boys, and everyone loved Chester.

I almost went with one longer book, and had chosen Henry and the Kite Dragon, which is a book I still want to share with a group of kids.

THANKS for all your suggestions, both here and on Facebook. I really appreciate it!

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
November 10, 2009