20 Books to Read Aloud at the Beginning of the School Year

There is such a magical feeling at the beginning of the year! Students are excited to be back, so there are many smiling faces in the classroom. On top of this, teachers get to begin the year with their favorite activities to set a fun, upbeat tone for the year. Personally, I love reading so many wonderful books in my class. I have a huge collection perfect for the first month of school. They help build community, teach rules and procedures, and character education. So, I am so excited to share 20 books to read aloud at the beginning of the school year! 

Books for Back to School

You can click on any of the books below for an Amazon affiliate link.  Should you make a purchase using any of the links, I do earn a small commission, which helps to support Fun in First.

1. The First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

No back-to-school book list is complete without First Day Jitters! Students need this book to help them understand their feelings are normal. No matter their grade, a new school year is always a big adjustment. Plus, the kids are always surprised at the end.

Books for Back to School

 2. The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig

This book is great for any time of the school year, but it is definitely a MUST READ. It’s easily one of my favorite picture books of all time, and it shows the importance of kindness and acceptance. 

Books for Back to School

3. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

I love using this book at the beginning of the year.  It’s the perfect lead-in to introduce everyone and get to know each other’s names.

Books for Back to School

4. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

This is another excellent book to read when discussing names and getting to know each other. It shows the importance of getting to know each other and pronouncing names correctly. 

First Grade Read Aloud

5.  Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Any book by Kevin Henkes is a good choice. This one is particularly great for students who spend a lot of time worrying. It helps them work through their worries without losing out on daily events.

First Grade Read Aloud

6. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

This cute book is about being proud of who you are, which is always a great message for kids.

First Grade Read Aloud

7. Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook

This is the perfect way to lead into a discussion about tattling vs. reporting.

First Grade Read Aloud

8.  Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

I just love Wodney Wat! He can’t pronounce his Rs and always gets teased, but he saves the day. This is the perfect reminder not to bully each other and accept everyone for who they are. 

When considering the 20 books to read aloud at the beginning of the school year, this is one to include! It helps make sure students do not pick on each other. 

First Grade Read Aloud

9. The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray

I always read this book on the first day of school. Afterward, we go on a scavenger hunt around the school. It is a fantastic way to help build comfort in the building- not just the classroom!

First Grade Read Aloud

10. Quiet Please, Owen McPhee by Tracy Ludwig

This is another excellent book by Trudy Ludwig.  You definitely have a couple of Owen McPhee’s in your class each year. It is a fantastic reminder on the importance of listening to each other and not interrupting. 

First Grade Read Aloud

11.  The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill

Mean Jean is a bully, which can be relatable to some students.  This is a wonderful way to talk about bullying.

First Grade Read Aloud

12. The Pigeon HAS to go to School by Mo Willems

Kids LOVE the pigeon, so this is definitely a must-have! It is a great way to help students unsure about the new year feel more comfortable. 

These 20 books to read aloud at the beginning of the school year are perfect for helping settle nerves! 

First Grade Read Aloud

13.  How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague

I love so many of Mark Teague’s books because of the wonderful illustrations. This one is perfect for the beginning of the school year. It even builds amazing conversations between students. 

First Grade Read Aloud

14. The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi

This one’s message is wonderful for all students. It provides the perfect message about how accomplishing certain things takes time so students can build the always important growth mindset.  

First Grade Read Aloud

15. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

This book comes from the perspective of the actual school building’s feelings about the first day of school. 

Books for Back to School

16.  We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Some students have a tough time starting a new year. So, this is an amazing way to show students they are not alone in feeling this. It is a funny, heartwarming story about a dinosaur’s first school day with human classmates.

Books for Back to School

17.  How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan

The students give tips on how to get the teacher ready for the first day of school. It is hilarious! 

Books for Back to School

18. Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller

This is such a cute book about how to treat others. This is always a meaningful conversation at the start of the year!

Books for Back to School

19.  Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Spoon thinks that Fork, Knife, and Chopsticks have it much better than him, but he learns how special he is.  I also recommend Straw and Chopsticks by the same author.

Books for Back to School

20.  My Mouth is a Volcano by Julie Cook

This is a great book to discuss interrupting and controlling one’s thoughts until it is time to speak.

Books for Back to School

There are so many emotions at the beginning of the school year. While it is super exciting, there are also lots of nerves. So, these 20 books to read aloud at the beginning of the school year are crucial! They build excitement while helping students relax, review important manners, and build a fantastic classroom family.

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Books for Back to School

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