First Days of Kindergarten Read Alouds

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.19.45 AMThanks to Cathy Mere (@cathymere) and Mandy Robek (@mandyrobek), August 10th is a special day for teachers and book lovers everywhere. It’s 10 for 10 Picture Book Day (#pb10for10)! I’ve decided to share my top 10 (ok, maybe a few more…) favorite read alouds for the first days of kindergarten. These are mostly old favorites, but they are loved, read and reread throughout the year. I find these books a perfect mix of nonfiction, fiction, wordless and repetitive text that draws readers in from the first day of kindergarten and leaves them begging for more after the first week. Enjoy and happy reading!

What are your favorites for the first week of school? Please share!

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A favorite nonfiction text that kids love to read and guess what animal is in the picture.

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We love Todd Parr. This is a great book to start the year with. We live the mantra, “a mistake is a chance to learn something new”, and this book helps me teach this from day 1.

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A very fun book that helps children see that they can read the pictures as well as the words. The repetitive text and detailed illustrations help children begin to tell stories and understand that they are readers – reading the pictures and the words.

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We love, love, love this book! It’s a great story that begs children to guess what will happen next and to join in on the refrain. A class favorite throughout the year.

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A good nonfiction book with fabulous photographs and a simple text line to read aloud. Children love this. And after I introduce Mrs. Wishy-Washy, they love that Joy Cowley is the author of this book, too!

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A good partner to the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, with rich photographs and a simple text line. Children are extremely engaged in this nonfiction text.

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A timeless classic that helps me teach the important lesson of “team”. We are all in this together and we are here to help, support and love each other. It’s a must-read for the first week of school.

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A fun read aloud for math workshop. Rhyming text and silly pictures pulls kids in and gets them excited about books and math.

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This repetitive text is one that children love. They will read it along with you and beg for it to be reread. A favorite throughout the year.

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A simply wonderful wordless picture book that helps me teach that reading can be reading the pictures. Children love the adventure the characters have as their chalk drawings come to life.

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Who doesn’t love Pete the Cat? The book, the song, the characters and the authors…they are all a big win in kindergarten. The message of, “it’s all good”, is one that we revisit often throughout the year.

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A classic, that children just love. Skit, skat, skoodle doot, flip, flop, flee – who doesn’t love repeating that line?

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I launch our writer’s workshop with this book on day 1. The author’s notes in the front cover show children how David Shannon got his ideas for this book. We start making books on day 1 – just like David Shannon.






August 10 for 10 Picture Book Event!

We are excited to be participating in the 10 for 10 Picture Books project again! This is the fourth year that Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek have hosted this compilation of blog and Twitter posts (#PB10for10) about the 10 picture books you just can’t live without.

The first five are Katie’s picks and the second five are Pat’s. Enjoy!


Good News Bad News, by Jeff Mack is a simple text that uses only 4 words to tell the story of two friends who have very different ways of looking at the world. Kids love reading the pictures and beg for this to be read again and again.





It’s a Tiger, by David LaRochelle and Jeremy Tankard.  This book was voted as the #1 Favorite by my class this year. They absolutely loved it!  A rollicking adventure with a tiger makes this an instant favorite read aloud.





Beautiful Oops!, by Barney Saltzberg.  This is a wonderful book to show kids how mistakes can be something beautiful. With fun cut-outs, pop-ups and interactive pages, this book engages children and encourages them to create and not be scared of making mistakes.





Press Here, by Herve Tullet. I absolutely love this fun book. The text instructs the reader to push dots, shake the book and then through your imagination the book magically comes alive. This is a must-have for your classroom library regardless of the age of your students.





Ol’ Mama Squirrel, by David Ezra Stein. Mama Squirrel will do whatever it takes to protect her babies. Kids enjoy this funny story of brave Mama Squirrel. This book also has nice text features to use as a writing mentor text.




6140VbmaPML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson. I would not be surprised to see this book on everyone’s list of 10 for 10.  It’s a big hit with everyone I share it with, adults and children alike.  A little girl learns a lesson about kindness after being mean to one of her new classmates. This book leaves children with a desire to treat everyone with a little kindness lest you regret your missed opportunities.




51E7nP9Xi-L._SX300_The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, is a book filled with subtle humor.  Each crayon writes a letter to their owner telling him about why they are feeling rejected, overused, stubby, or naked. Yellow and orange fight over what color the sun really is.  I had to laugh out loud at Purple’s letter because one of my grandchildren just LOVES purple and uses up all our purple markers and crayons. This book would be fun for K-2 to hear, but also useful in upper grades for an example of point of view writing.



31y-kfs3+XL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_I am definitely on an “Amy Krouse Rosentahl” kick these days.  I just love her humor.   In Exclamation Point we get a quirky lesson in punctuation.  My favorite page is when the question mark shows up and asks no less than 20 questions in a row.  When reading it aloud, read these fast.  It cracks the kids up.



51TAO9fNSrL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_This one has been around since 2006, but I just discovered it.  Another A. K. Rosenthal book, One of Those Days, would pair nicely with Viorst’s classic book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. All kids will relate to “Feeling Left Out Day” and “Can’t Find Stuff Day” and “Nobody’s Listening To You Day.”  The pictures tell it all. This one is an easy mentor text for getting writing ideas too.




31OLeLfeF2L._SX300_Kathryn Otoshi does it again with Zero as she did with OneAnother great book with a serious message.

August 10 for 10 – Picture Book Extravaganza!

It’s that time of the year again…the August 10 for 10 Picture Book Event! This is the third year that Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek have hosted this compilation of blog and Twitter posts (#PB10for10) about the 10 picture books you just can’t live without. I am excited to share the 10 books that I will most definitely enjoy again this year in my kindergarten classroom – a few of these suggested in posts from last year’s 10 for 10. Enjoy!

Red Rubber Boot Day

1. Red Rubber Boot Day  by Mary Lyn Ray – A wonderful celebration of a rainy day, stomping through puddles and enjoying the rain. This was  a writing mentor text we returned to often. Her book Mud is equally fabulous and pairs well with this one.

Big Frog Can’t Fit In

2. Big Frog Can’t Fit In by Mo Willems – Another fun book by Mo Willems, this complex pop-up, pop-out, flap book is the story of poor Big Frog who is too big for the book. With a little help from his friends he finds a solution to the problem.


3. Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee – The illustrations and story in this book are just lovely. From stars in the sky to stars on a magic wand, short lines of text explore stars and the many different ways stars can be seen and found in the world. Beautiful language and exquisite illustrations made this a book that many children “stood on the shoulders” of as they wrote their own books about stars.


4. Help! A Story of Friendship by Holly Keller – The animals manage to convince Mouse that Snake wants to eat him instead of be his friend. Mouse listens to the gossip and becomes scared of Snake – until he gets into a situation where only Snake can help. This book launched some great conversations when we had  issues with children talking about others in unkind ways and helped the class come to the conclusion that problems are best solved when you go straight to the source, and making up stories about other people isn’t a good way to make friends. A pretty big concept for kindergarteners, and an important life lesson as well.


5. Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell – This true story of Jane Goodall makes me tear up just thinking about it. A fabulous, simple text, yet deep story of following your dreams. I ended our last day of school with this read aloud (and many tears). I hope my kids remember the message it left us with that you can be anything you want to be – follow your passions and don’t let anything stop you.

If Rocks Could Sing

6. If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet by Leslie McGuirk – A wonderful addition to your alphabet books, this author found rocks that were in the shape of all the letters of the alphabet. She compiled the photos in this book along with short text to accompany and explain each of the rock shapes. It is great and the kids just loved seeing the alphabet in rocks. It inspired many of them to look for letters in rocks and outdoors as well.

Chickens to the Rescue

7. Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman – This was one of our all time favorites! It’s a laugh-out-loud, “read it again!” book that the kids love. A fun, crazy story about a family living on a farm who has many misadventures but never needs to worry because the chickens come to the rescue! Or maybe they DO need to worry… We had some great conversations about whether the chickens really were helping or just making more of a mess. This is the first in a series and each book ends with clues about the next book. Just go ahead and get the whole series (Pigs to the Rescue and Cows to the Rescue) – your kids will be begging to see what happens next!

Grumpy Bird

8. Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard – We all have bad days and Grumpy Bird is the best cure for a grumpy class (or teacher). Ha! A good story of friends helping out and turning a bad day around.

The Doghouse

9. The Doghouse by Jan Thomas – I discovered Jan Thomas this year and she immediately became a favorite author in our classroom. We used her books for mentor texts in writing and as “laugh out loud” favorite read alouds to revisit again and again. The Doghouse was a favorite.

Bob the Dog

10. Bob the Dog by Rodrigo Folgueira – Pat gave this book to our class as a gift and it immediately went to the “Our Favorites” box. The illustrations are hilarious and tell much of the story. The kids fall in love with Bob, the dog who accidentally swallows a canary. Bob is distraught over this situation and tries many ways to get the canary out. It’s only Jeremy the Canary’s mom who can finally get him to come out. We loved learning why Jeremy went down Bob’s throat (because he didn’t want to clean his room), and what his punishment is (cleaning Bob’s room). We liked this book so much we made a VoiceThread of our comments and thoughts about the book.

What are some of your favorite books? Are any of my favorites ones you use in your classroom?