Kim Creigh, M.Ed

  • 20+ winter books for kids: perfect for hot cocoa and snuggling!

    It’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book. These 20+ winter books for kids pair perfectly with chilly winter weather (maybe with some snow falling outside!) and hot cocoa. Winter is one of the best seasons to snuggle up and read! 

    A winter scene with a text overlay of "20+ winter books for kids: perfect for hot cocoa and snuggling!" illustrates the title of the blog post. A mug of hot cocoa is in the corner as a visual reminder of winter.

    Today I’m covering:

    • An easy tool to figure out what type of reader you have in your home
    • Winter books for children of all ages and levels!
    • Picture books about winter
    • A new winter program for transitional or fluent readers 
    • Why you should rotate out your books each season

    Grab your tea (or drink of choice) and find your reader type. Not sure what type of reader you have? First, take the quiz here, then skip on down to the best winter books for your child! I recommend checking out all of these best winter books for kids, but you can skip to your child’s reader type.

    This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

    Picture Books About Winter

    These winter books are great for Beginning Reader Bens, but really, kids of all ages love picture books! In this blog, click on the titles or pictures to check out the books on Amazon, then purchase or add them to your next library haul!

    Winter background scene of snow with a young boy with text, "winter book ideas for Beginning Reader Ben" for winter books preschool.
    Unsure if you have a beginning reader at home? Click here to take the quiz and see!

    The Mitten by Jan Brett

    This is a classic winter story for littles! You can draw mittens, match colored mittens, or cut out animals to retell this story together. The illustrations are beautiful.

    The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keates

    This book is on the New York Public Library #1 book on the list of “Top Check Outs of All Time,” so you know it has to be a good one 😉 This book is a classic. Join Peter on his first snowfall adventures!

    SkippyJon Jones Snow What by Judy Schachner

    My little interns love SkippyJon Jones! This silly Siamese cat thinks he’s a Chihuahua. Once he’s inside his magical closet, he finds himself in a snowy adventure.

    Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

    This book is perfect for a chilly night! In this book, younger kids get to see how bear snores (hibernates!) while all of his friends come to visit in his den. This story has a great rhythm and Karma Wilson picks the best words to lull your little one to sleep!

    How to Catch a Snowman by Adam Wallace & Andy Elkerton

    If you’ve read any of the “How to Catch a…” series, you know they are hilarious. This snowman has come to life and run away. He breaks through trap after trap. Will anyone catch him? Read along and then build your own snowman trap after this fun read aloud!

    Winter Books for Early Elementary Kids

    Winter background scene of snow with a young boy with text, "winter book ideas for Transitional Reader Taylor" for picture books about winter.
    Not sure if you have a Transitional Reader Taylor? Click here to take the quiz!

    Transitional Reader Taylors will enjoy all of the above books. Since there is a wide range of reading abilities with transitional readers, you may continue to read these books aloud. Or, you can try to take turns reading some of these together!

    Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

    Jory John just knows how to make kids laugh! He’s also written Cat Problems and Giraffe Problems. This story comes with lots of laughs and amazing illustrations!

    Over & Under the Snow by Kate Messner

    Check out this nonfiction book about animals that live in snowy climates. In this book, you’ll see tunnels and other homes formed under the snow but over the ground.

    Blizzard by John Rocco

    This book holds a special place in my heart since it was based on John Rocco’s personal experience in the Blizzard of ’78 in Rhode Island. Growing up in the smallest state, I heard ALL about this blizzard from my parents and grandparents. The pictures and white space add to the story, and everyone who’s lived through a snowstorm can relate to this story.

    The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear

    The illustrations are gorgeous in this book! Charles goes searching for a wish tree with his friend, Boggan (a sled). The animals and heartwarming story make this book the perfect read for a cold, snowy day!

    Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story by Sean Taylor & Alex Morss

    Follow a grandma and a child’s winter walk and notice all of the animals they see. The end of this story includes facts about all of these hibernating animals.

    The Adventures of Sophie Mouse: Winters No Time to Sleep by

    This is book 6 in a great beginner chapter book series, The Adventures of Sophie Mouse. There are illustrations to support the large text in these books, making it a great choice for those Transitional Reader Taylors. When Sophie and her friends wake up Pippa, a hibernating hedgehog, they show her how much fun you can have in winter!

    DIY Winter Book Club for 2nd and 3rd Grade Readers

    Do you have a second or third-grade level reader? Not sure what those reading levels are all about? Click here for my Making Sense of Book Reading Levels Cheat Sheet! You can download even more book ideas and get a better idea of where your child is based on my book suggestions for each level.

    If you want your child to not only be reading more and increasing their reading skill level every single month but you also love the idea of having regular meaningful conversations with your child about books and increasing your family connection time, then check out the DIY Book Club!

    This DIY Book Club equips you with book guides, discussion questions, and suggested activities and conversations your kids can have with you and/or their friends.

    For the complete list of books and all the details of Adventures with Books: DIY Book Club, click here!

    Best Winter Books for Fluent Readers

    Remember, your Fluent Reader Freddie also loves to be read aloud to! Some of these books are more challenging than others, and you could always try to make one a family read aloud. Even though this is a list of winter books for kids, you may enjoy reading them aloud as well 😉

    Remember, kids can comprehend, or understand, books that are much higher than what they can read on their own. So, if you have a Transitional Reader Taylor, there’s no reason why she can’t read some of these books together with you!

    Winter background scene of snow with a young boy with text, "winter book ideas for Fluent Reader Freddie" for children's books winter.
    Wondering if you have a Fluent Reader Freddie? Click here to take the quiz!

    Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

    This is a picture book that I included in the fluent reader section to remind everyone that picture books are for ALL readers! This story shows how Wilson Bentley sees snow through his camera lens. The side panels explain facts about Wilson’s story and add depth to this book. This is not a picture book for beginning readers!

    Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

    This story has a fairy tale feel to it, but it is designed for older readers. This would also make a great read aloud for younger readers!

    Odd is a young Viking boy who flees to the woods. When Odd stumbles upon and releases a trapped bear… his life begins to change.

    The eagle, bear, and fox Odd encounters are Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giant. Your child will love to read about Odd’s adventures as he tries to reclaim Thor’s hammer, outwit the frost giants, and release the gods.

    The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el

    This chapter book would make an excellent family read aloud. While there are some pictures for support in this book, the text is small and the vocabulary is challenging.

    Duane is a young polar bear who makes friends with anyone he meets! Join the artic adventures of these sweet animals in The Very, Very Far North.

    Magic Tree House: Merlin Mission Winter of the Ice Wizard by Mary Pope Osborne

    The Magic Tree House series is a classic for any young reader! These books are great to hook second or third-grade readers into since there are so many stories in this series.

    The Winter According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

    See the winter world through a hamster’s eyes in this story! This is another family-friendly read aloud, and I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t love Humphrey!

    Best Winter Books for Resistant Readers

    Winter background scene of snow with a young girl with text, "winter book ideas for Reluctant Reader Rosies" for winter books and movies.
    Find out if you have a reluctant reader at home. Click here to take the quiz!

    Reluctant Reader Rosies are some of the hardest readers to please! For these readers, we are trying to get them to fall in love with a book or series, and some of my best tricks for this is to pick books that are movies. After you finish the book, you can watch the movie and compare the book vs. the movie. For more books vs. movie suggestions, click here.

    Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater

    Your child will love this story of how penguins come to live with Mr. Popper. We previewed the movie trailer in our last book club, and the movie looks totally different from the book! Which one will your child like better?

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

    This is the second book in this classic series. Follow the adventures of four siblings who step through their magical wardrobe to Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter.

    Another great way to encourage reluctant readers is to introduce graphic novels. These are a couple of my little interns’ winter-ish favorites:

    Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks

    Bird and Squirrel crash land during a blizzard in the South Pole. They meet a penguin and have some interesting adventures together! It’s silly but very much loved by my little interns!

    The Flying Beaver Brothers & The Evil Penguin Plan by Maxwell Eaton III

    Penguins threaten to freeze Beaver Island, forcing Ace and Bub into action! Your child will laugh out loud reading this story!

    Why You Should Rotate Your Books

    Similar to a toy rotation, book rotations keep things fresh! We started this system out of necessity since we just don’t have enough room for all of our books, but it works for everyone.

    Think about it…

    When you have a new book sitting on your nightstand, aren’t you more excited to start? Isn’t that why we go to the library? To get new and exciting books?

    This isn’t just for your winter books for kids. If you have a lot of different holiday books- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, etc.- you could rotate those out. Or, you can rotate by season- winter, spring, summer, or fall.

    This image of staggered books with the "Rotate Your Books" words across it reminds parents to rotate their winter books for kids.

    No time to organize and rotate your child’s books?

    Simply take a stack and put them in a box. Wait a month or two, then bring them out and take another box away. It keeps books fresh and fun!

    Which winter books for kids are you checking out?

    Add these to your next library picks, or let me know in the comments which books you love! Did I miss any winter books for kids? Let me know your favorite picks in the comments!

    If you want more book suggestions for your reader type, be sure to take the quiz and they’ll be sent straight to your inbox!

  • 20+ perfect gift ideas for the book lover (for kids and you too!)

    Are you looking for the perfect gift ideas for the book lover?! Check out these 20+ ideas for your kids, your family, and for you, busy mom! This gift guide for book lovers covers kids to adults, so you’ll get great ideas for everyone on your list. Most of this list I have personally tried or owned so you can rest assured I know what to get someone who likes to read 😉

    Gift Guide for Book Lovers with a picture of a book and purples and pinks with bokeh lights in the background signaling 20+ gift ideas for the book lover

    This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

    Gifts for Kids who Love to Read

    Even if your child doesn’t LOVE to read (yet!), these gifts may encourage them to pick up a book. Books make amazing stocking stuffers! If you want suggestions for books on their reading level to gift, then be sure to download my Making Sense of Book Levels Cheat Sheet which has lots of book suggestions!

    Toniebox Starter Set

    I cannot wait to gift this to my little bookworm this Christmas! This new audio system is designed for little listeners. Simply pop a Tonie on top of the Toniebox and start listening to a new story. They have a partnership with Disney and Sesame Street so you can get Tonies for all of your child’s favorite characters.

    I love that this is screen-free and you don’t have to have WiFi after the initial setup. This is a great way for your child to hear fluent reading. You can also record your family singing and load their favorite music. Amazon claims this is for kids ages 3+.

    Library Kit for Pretend Play

    I’m sad I didn’t have this kit as a child! A co-teacher and I tried to make our own library system for our classroom one year… let’s just say it didn’t exactly work 😉 Make all of your little librarian’s dreams come true this year with this library play kit!

    Slumberkins Book & Snuggler

    I absolutely LOVE Slumberkins products. They are amazing for Social-Emotional Learning and have creative ways to discuss your child’s feelings. I gifted one to my little intern to discuss family changes with the new baby coming. They have so many different stuffed animal options and books to go along with the different feelings. I also love the affirmation cards they include with the books!

    Mark My Time Bookmark

    Need to squeeze in those 20 minutes of reading? Have your child use this timer bookmark to keep track of their reading time. We did have to set a few “rules” in our home since the beeping and playing with the timer can sometimes be more fun than actual reading. We set it and forget it and it seems to work well now!

    Library Tote Bag

    How fun would it be to wrap your child’s favorite books in this tote? Then use it for all of your upcoming library trips!

    Bookish Pajamas

    Pair these pajamas with their matching book and you have an adorable gift!

    Adventures with Books: DIY Book Club

    Give the gift of reading to your child! This DIY Book Club was designed to grow your reader through research-based activities. My main objectives when developing this program were to increase your child’s reading comprehension, reading skills, and their love of reading!

    You can read all about the Winter DIY Book Club picks and give that gift of reading here.

    Navy blue background with book and hot air balloon announcing Adventures with Books: DIY Book Club
    Icon pictures to illustrate the benefits of DIY book club including a book, printer, active child, vocabulary list, email, and video play button

    Reading Nook Gift Ideas for the Book Lover

    You know one of my favorite things to talk about in making reading fun is a reading nook! These are great gift ideas for the book lover, or soon-to-be book lover when you create this cozy space for reading!

    Sight Word Blanket

    Cuddle up with this blanket for movie night and then read a few words before you start! This is a fun, snuggly way to practice those sight words.

    Reading Tent

    This tent can be transformed into a reading tent by simply adding bins of your child’s favorite books! Again, if you’re looking for books on their level, check out my Making Sense of Book Levels Cheat Sheet to fill that reading tent with quality books!

    Creative Fort

    Not into tents? Let your kids build a fort! Then, throw that sight word blanket over the top!

    Neck Reading Light

    I can’t wait to gift these in my big interns’ stockings this year! I also may want one of these myself 😉 This neck reading light takes Flashlight Friday reading to the next level!

    Bean Bags that Hide Stuffed Animals!

    I wish I came up with this brilliant idea! We have two of these magical bean bags that can hide all of the stuffed animals! They then become useful bean bags that you can put in that cozy reading nook.

    Family Bookish Gifts

    Not everyone in my family is a book lover (*gasp!) but every year I try to win over my accountant with a family bookish gift. So even if you don’t need bookish gifts for everyone in your family, you may consider the following to try to convince them how awesome books are 😉

    Book Puzzle

    I am not a huge puzzle fan, but this one filled with classic children’s book covers just may win me over!

    Audible

    Audible is my go-to for long soccer drives. We love to pick slightly harder chapter books to listen to on longer car rides. I would say if you have older kids, skip the Toniebox and get a family audible subscription. It will lead to lots of great discussions about books you listen to together.

    Reading Nook with Book Shelves

    Add a comfy cushion and let your child curl up on top of the books while you have family reading time! Fill those shelves with quality books!

    A to Z Shabby Chic Bookends

    Fill these bookends with great book suggestions from my Making Sense of Book Reading Levels Cheat Sheet!

    Book Stamp

    Keep track of your family’s books with one of these adorable book stamps. Be sure to stamp your family name in each book before you let anyone borrow books!

    Gift Ideas for the Book Lover… that’s YOU!

    Do you, busy mom, love to read? You may want to add some of these to your own gift list this year! I love these gifts for bookworms.

    Ember Mug

    Do you ever drink your coffee or tea hot? Or do you forget about it in the microwave for the third time since you are pulled in a million different directions? Treat yourself this holiday season, busy mom! I have the white Ember mug, but I just absolutely LOVE this rose gold color. You can control the heat with an app and my coffee and tea stay warm until the very last sip!

    Bookish Wine Glass

    Would you rather unwind with a glass of wine instead of tea? I love the saying on this glass! Now if only my little interns would read it and follow the directions…

    Bookmarks are for Quitters T-Shirt

    Can you ever have enough t-shirts? I love the saying too!

    Barefoot Dreams Throw Blanket

    Trust me when I tell you these blankets are worth every penny! They are so comfy and soft and you will never want to leave your couch. I have a cream striped one and I’m always curled up with my book in it!

    Shhh I’m Reading Socks

    Can you ever have too many socks? These may be on my own Christmas wish list 😉

    My Reading Life: A Book Journal

    I am terrible at tracking books I read, and this little book journal could definitely help!

    What’s YOUR Favorite Book Lover Gifts?

    I would love to hear your favorite gift idea from this gift guide for book lovers! Did you add anything to your wish list? Did you get any great ideas for your kids? Let me know in the comments!

  • My child hates to read… What should I do?

    Have you ever thought to yourself, “My child hates to read. What should I do?” You know reading is important and really the key to every other subject in school. There is reading research out there that shows that children’s emotions about reading have a huge impact on whether they’ll become lifelong readers. There are many reasons why a child may hate to read. 

    stack of books behind help my child hates to read with 7 tips to motivate your child to read

    When Your Child Hates to Read: Dig a little deeper!

    As a reading teacher and a mom, I’ve heard, “My child hates to read” often. It breaks my heart, but it’s important that we dive a little deeper to find out what’s actually going on when your child is reading.

    Questions to ask yourself about your child’s reading:

    • Is your child reading or pretending to read when they open a book?
    • Does your child find reading difficult? Are they struggling to sound out the words on the page?
    • Can your child read aloud to you with expression, and has amazing reading fluency, but when you ask them a question about what they read, they can’t remember anything about that page or passage?
    • Does your child rely on picture support when they are reading? Pictures are great, but sometimes if children over-rely on pictures, it can cause a lot of problems when those picture supports are taken away.

    Reading is a complex process. There is a reason why I studied reading for my Masters in Education and still attend professional workshops to learn more about the process of reading. There can be many gaps in any of these reading areas that can cause your child to scream, “I hate to read!”

    How to Help Your Child Who Hates to Read

    I firmly believe that encouraging your child to read at a young age will help develop that love of reading. That being said, there is a concept in the reading field known as “Decline by Nine” where kids who may have loved to read earlier may suddenly stop loving to read.

    reading quote children are made readers on the laps of their parents by Emilie Buchwald
    I completely agree with children’s author Emilie Buchwald in that children are made readers in the laps of their parents. But what happens when they turn 9?!

    In third grade, students switch from learning to read to reading to learn. Instead of reading Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie or other fun fiction books, they are now expected to read facts about ancient civilizations, ecosystems, or the Civil War. Imagine if your fun fiction books turned into what some may consider “boring” facts. Would you start to hate to read?

    As one of my favorite children’s author, Kate DiCamillo states, “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.”

    Kate DiCamillo's quote "reading should not be presented to children as a chore or a duty. It should be presented to them as a gift."

    It’s hard to keep reading fun and light when this switch occurs, which is why that term “Decline by Nine” came to be. Nine-year-olds should not have that love of reading taken away from them! Obviously, those science and social studies facts aren’t going anywhere. Unfortunately, neither are those reading comprehension passages. So, how do we help?

    7 Tips on How to Help Motivate Your Reader

    information on 7 tips to motivate your child to read if your child hates to read
    Does your child hate to read? Motivate your reader with one of these 7 tips!

    Let your child choose their books.

    stack of books to let your child choose their books

    This seems simple, yet it can be difficult as a parent when you want your child to read the “right” books. If there are classics like Charlotte’s Web or a Ramona book you want your child to read because YOU read it as a child, read it aloud to them! 

    Reading aloud is really important for every reader to hear, not just those Beginning Reader Bens. Not sure what type of reader you have? Click here to take a 2 minute quiz to get a little more information on your child’s reading!

    Many parents tend to think that graphic novels aren’t “real books.” This is a whole post for another day, but they are reading, I promise! This is hard to take my own advice when my little interns only want to read Pokémon. If you want to encourage reading, don’t censor their books!

    Make sure their books aren’t too hard for them to read independently.

    open book to make sure your child's books aren't frustrating or too hard for them

    There is actually conflicting research out there in the reading world about this. Some researchers believe that reading level does not matter and that kids should be able to choose any book they want to read. While I agree with this to a certain extent, if a book is too hard, most kids are going to shut down and not want to read it.

    I will say my little interns know way more shark and dinosaur vocabulary than I currently do. There is something to be said if a topic interests your child, let them read about it. However, I still think if that book is too hard for them, you’ll end up reading more about the megalodon than you care to when you read it aloud to your child 😉

    If you want a book list to start with your child, then take this two-minute quiz and you’ll get some book ideas sent straight to your inbox!

    Not sure of your child’s reading level? I offer a personalized reading plan where I take into account your child’s interests and their reading ability to curate a book list just for them! After input from you, I’ll assess your child in different reading areas to determine their independent reading level. I also include options that are above your child’s reading level to work up to as well. You can read more about the Personalized Reading Plan here.

    Surround your child with books.

    boy staring at books to remember to surround your child with books

    This does not have to be as expensive as it sounds! Although I have spent my fair share on children’s books 😉 Weekly or biweekly trips to the library should suffice for your reader! 

    Have books in the living room, in their room, in the car, wherever you spend your most time. We have so many books. I like to rotate out our seasonal and holiday books so they spend some time in a bin in the living room so everyone has access to them.

    If your child does not have choices on what to read, they’ll think reading really is all about those comprehension packets that come home for homework. We don’t want that to be their only option for reading!

    Take this two-minute quiz to get a book list based on your child’s reading to bring with you on your next library trip.

    Make a cozy reading nook.

    girl in a tent with a book to make a cozy reading nook

    This does not have to be a complicated, Pinterest-worthy space! You can build a reading nook under the dining room table with blankets. Or, you can make a reading fort. You can read outside and put your outdoor cushions down in the grass. Get creative here, but don’t stress!

    My little interns still love their little chairs from Pottery Barn that we got when they were toddlers. They use them to lay down and read in. They also love to make reading forts using our Nuggets. If your child is older, you really just need to have a basket of books they can take into their nook ready to go. Which, if you went to the library and stocked your home with books, you already have!

    Watch how easy it is to transform any space into a cozy reading nook!

    Listen to audiobooks.

    boys listening to computer to remind to listen to audiobooks

    Some parents give me a lot of flack for this one, but hear me out! How many of us listen to podcasts or audiobooks while we are driving or multitasking? Why can’t our kids?

    If your child hates to read, I would try audiobooks! I would argue practicing listening comprehension and following the story read aloud (sometimes even by the author!) can be harder for some kids than actually reading a physical book. I do not recommend audiobooks be your child’s ONLY source of reading. It’s definitely something to add to the mix!

    Honestly, when I was new to teaching over fifteen years ago(!), I used to have books on CDs that my students would go to the listening center to listen to and follow along in the print book. You can do this now with easy apps like Audible or Epic. 

    Since I already have an Audible subscription, when we are heading out on a road trip, I usually download a book that I know my boys will enjoy. Last trip, we listened to The One and Only Ivan. One of my little interns wanted to follow along with my copy of the book, so he was reading along while I drove.

    Pick books that are also movies.

    family watching a movie with popcorn to remind to pick books that are also movies

    If you have a Reluctant Reader Rosie, you know one of my strategies to motivate their reading is to read a book that is also a movie. Be sure to read the book first! Then, your “celebration” could be to watch the movie at the next family movie night. How can your child hate to read if they are being rewarded with screen time!?

    Since we listened to The One and Only Ivan on our road trip, one of the first things we did when we got home was to plan when we could watch the movie together! It’s a really great strategy to motivate the finishing of books, and you’d be surprised how many books have been turned into movies!

    Still not sure what type of reader you have? Take this two minute quiz for specific strategies and books designed for your reader!

    Join a book club.

    Do you like to read just for the socialness of going to your book club? Your kids may have the same motivation as you! 

    virtual book club screen shot to remind parents to have their child join a book club

    My virtual book club is designed for Transitional Reader Taylors and Fluent Reader Freddies (still not sure what type of reader you have?! Click here to find out!). We discuss carefully selected books. There is “homework” each week which consists of reading and writing. Everyone’s favorite book club is the last one of the month where we bring our favorite snacks and drinks to celebrate our hard work that month!

    Click here to see this month’s book club picks.

    How Can I Help Your Child Love to Read?

    Make sure they are ready…

    Remember, these suggestions above are mostly for older readers. If you have a Beginning Reader Ben, you’re mostly reading aloud and giving your child exposure to books at this stage!

    Make sure your child is developmentally ready to read. Sometimes as a society, we push kids into reading that aren’t quite ready. If your 4-year-old has no interest in letters or sounds, just keep reading aloud to them and they’ll learn those letters when they are ready!

    We want them reading on grade level by third grade…

    That being said, we want to have all of our kids reading on grade level by third grade. If you’re not sure where your child is reading or what books are appropriate for them, or you think your child is struggling in some way with reading, I highly recommend a Personal Reading Plan.

    Your Personal Reading Plan will include:

    • Results of your child’s assessments
    • Reading strategies to work on
    • Games or printable activities to build those reading skills
    • My favorite tools or apps to help your child read

    After working through your child’s plan, you will have access to me for questions and reading support for the month as you work through the strategies and activities. Let’s help your reader… together! Click here for more information on the Personal Reading Plan.

    Even if your child hates to read… Remember to Read, Read, READ!

    Whatever your child’s reading ability, remember to continue to read aloud to them! I loved listening to my mom read a bedtime story long after I fit on her lap. Chapter books are great options for older readers and it’s nice to read and discuss with older readers. 

    Modeling your own reading may also help those reluctant readers. You know I’m here for you if you have any reading questions. I’d love to know which tips you’ve tried at home in the comments!

  • What are the best back to school read alouds for kids of all ages?

    Heading back to school causes a mix of emotions from both adults and kids alike! While you consider getting back into the school routine, I recommend these back to school read alouds to chat about all of those feelings! Relating to characters and discussing books is sometimes easier for kids than just talking about those confusing feelings.

    Plus, reading aloud books together can prevent that summer slide. It’s never too late to open a book this summer, even if it’s back to school picture books!

    For a tailored list of books geared towards your reader type, you may want to take my “What type of reader do you have?” quiz. You’ll find out which books and strategies to work on with your reader!

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

    Kids holding books to show the best read alouds for kids of all ages

    Back to School Pre K Books

    If you’ve taken my quiz, you’ll know if you have a beginning reader. These books are perfect for that Beginning Reader Ben, which are usually preschoolers and kindergartners. They are simple with fewer words on the page. Most of these back to school pre K books also are an introduction to school and what to expect. They use animals and things like dinosaurs that kids this age usually enjoy!

    You’re Finally Here by Melanie Watt

    Kids of all ages will love this impatient bunny! This book goes through all of the emotions on how hard it is to wait. This is the perfect back to school read aloud on staying for the school year!

    A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon by Audrey Penn

    This is one of my favorite books (I do realize I say that all of the time!). We even did a kissing hand craft when my boys were heading to preschool and left it in their backpack if they missed mommy. It is a sweet story of Chester Raccoon’s first time in school.

    How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? by Jane Yolen & Illustrated by Mark Teague

    What preschooler doesn’t love dinosaurs?! This silly story will be a hit in this age group with lots of examples of how little dinos should behave during the school day!

    Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

    We started reading this book in our house even before preschool! When the boys were attending a Mom’s Morning Out program, we read all about Little Llama and how he misses his Mama. This story is so relatable for kids, and *spoiler alert* Little Llama ends up loving school and not wanting to leave!

    Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children by Carol McCloud, Katherine Martin, & David Messing

    There are two versions of this book, and this one is much simpler for these beginning readers. The idea of filling a bucket, or being kind to yourself and others, is perfectly illustrated in this story! The idea of filling buckets should be a part of every classroom! I truly feel that you can’t go wrong with either of these versions as one of the best back to school read alouds!

    The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

    I would argue that EVERY reader loves Mo Willems, young or old! The beloved pigeon does not want to go to school, asking “What if I don’t like school?” Another great question that can lead to great discussions in the story: “What if the teacher doesn’t like pigeons?”

    The pigeon uses a lot of silly examples and then talks himself into going to school by the end of the book. You can easily use this beloved character to have lots of great back to school discussions!

    Back to School Read Alouds for Elementary Students

    These back to school picture books are great for those Transitional Reader Taylors. They probably have experience with school, but may need some ideas and discussions on how to act when they are back in the classroom. There are a LOT of feelings that go into heading back to school, and these books can help lead those discussions at home!

    First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John & Liz Climo

    You know Jory John is a well-loved author around here! This book will entertain kids of all ages, and is one of my new favorite back to school read alouds! The animals, or critters, are nervous since it’s almost the first day of school. On the first day of school, their teacher (an armadillo) is also nervous! He’s rolled into a ball and it takes him a while to relax. The critters figure out how to help each other out with their jitters and realize school isn’t so scary.

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

    This is another silly book that can help your child discuss some of those feelings they may be having when it comes to going back to school. Penelope Rex has lots of questions about the school year, including:

    • “What are my classmates going to be like?”
    • “Will they be nice?”
    • “How many teeth will they have?”

    Any book that comes with the caveat, “Hey Kids! You will never be eaten by a T. Rex. They are extinct. I promise!” is going to be great 😉

    All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

    This book celebrates diversity and inclusion where all students are welcomed with open arms at their school! It is a New York Times bestselling picture book and one of the best back to school read alouds!

    Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

    I read this every year with my first graders! I LOVE this book and everything about it. We filled buckets in my learning pod last year, writing down or drawing a picture of kind things we did for each other. This book gives so many examples of how to be kind and fill someone’s bucket, everyone will love it!

    My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook

    Julia Cook is an educator who wrote this story about Louis who ALWAYS interrupts! Whenever he has something to say, he shouts it out, regardless if the teacher is talking! What kid can’t relate to that?! After reading this book, your child will become more aware of the times they interrupt. They may even notice and say things like, “My mouth is a volcano right now!”

    Reading this story will help at least make your child aware of some of those moments where they just can’t control what they have to say! It can lead to some great discussions on what to do if you do have something you want to share right away and can’t.

    Teal (A Book About a Little Crayon that Makes a Big Difference) by Renee Galvin

    This book received a Mom’s Choice Award, and it’s easy to see why. I love the message of this book, and it doesn’t hurt that teal is one of my favorite colors 😉 Is teal green? Is it blue? This story of not fitting in is relatable to anyone that feels different. The message is not limited to race, gender, or culture, but to anyone that feels like they don’t fit in. We will be rereading and discussing this story before school starts this year!

    Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border

    This sweet story shows how Peanut Butter is searching for a friend. Everyone is too busy for him, and then at the end, he finds his friend and more! This is a great story to read at the beginning of the school year to reinforce the concept of friendship and how everyone can feel lonely sometimes.

    After the Fall by Dan Santat

    This is a sequel to the popular nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…” which many early elementary students are familiar with! After his great fall, Humpty Dumpty is afraid to do many of the things he loved, like sitting up high on the wall. Will he gain the courage to face his fear?

    This story can lead to a lot of great discussions on what your child is afraid of. You can easily frame it around any beginning of the school year fears. You just may be surprised what your kids have fears about regarding school, and this book easily earned a spot for one of my best back to school read alouds!

    Back to School Books for 3rd Grade & Up!

    These picture books have more to them than those listed above. That doesn’t mean that your second grader would not appreciate some of these books! There is just a little more to the theme and you can have some excellent discussions around these stories. If you want to know if you have a Fluent Reader Freddie, take the quiz here!

    The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

    This is a simple story about an “invisible boy” named Brian. The illustrations show how no one, not even his teacher, seem to have time for Brian. While this story seems simple, there is a lot to unpack as a new friend appears in class one day. Brian befriends the new boy and becomes “visible” in the illustrations. This book comes with discussion questions at the end.

    The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah

    Lily and Salma are best friends that do all the same things! Lily always eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus. This turns into a huge issue and leads to a food fight! Both girls end up in the principal’s office and decide something needs to change. This story is about much more than sandwiches!

    The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

    “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.” Jacqueline Woodson has a way with words. While it can definitely be read by younger children, I think the diversity aspects and acceptance can be discussed with older elementary school kids!

    Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy

    The main character in this book is Lucy, and she has big hair and loves to eat fun foods. She is teased by Ralph at school simply because she’s different. She tries to be brave but asks her Papa Gino, “What should I do?”

    Papa Gino’s response is perfect, “Do the right thing and treat people with kindness.” Ralph gets stuck on the playground and Lucy must decide what to do. This book also comes with discussion questions!

    The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

    This is one of my favorite read alouds at any time of year! It can also be used with first graders and fifth graders! Peter Reynolds is one of my all-time favorite authors. His description of his book includes:

    “The dot is about getting started– getting unstuck. It is also about creative teaching, exploring an idea in many ways, and sharing our gift with others.

    Best Back to School Read Alouds

    So, which books from this back to school read aloud list are your favorites?! Let me know in the comments if they led to any great discussions!

    If you’re looking for more than just these best back to school read alouds, be sure to take the “What type of reader do you have?” quiz and you’ll get a list of books for your reader!