For kids, the best read-aloud books are stories that they can get lost in. They can be action-packed stories, simple stories with a lot of heart, and stories that feel like a warm blanket. Kids and adults can also get into other worlds or see their own faces in great read-aloud books. Everyone can get something out of reading aloud.
It was the time I spent reading aloud to my students that I always looked forward to the most. I liked how they looked at each other as if they were hearing a secret. I loved reading chapter books when I had a few minutes to myself, like before lunch or at the end of the school day. As soon as I would stop and put a bookmark, all of the students would beg me to read one more page. There was nothing like that moment.
A teacher, a parent, or someone else who is lucky enough to have kids they can read to will love these books. They’re sure to be a hit!
The Best Read-Aloud Picture Books
To read in one sitting, there are a lot of great picture books. Below are some of my favorite things. if you want even more ideas for picture books, check out these great read-aloud books for first-graders.
Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield and Jan Spivey Gilchrist
This is my favorite read-aloud book ever. To this day, I read it to my teacher education students every semester. I used to love reading it to kids, and I still do. The rhyming text makes it easy to read, and it’s full of things we all love, like country cousins and a water hose on a hot day.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
To read aloud, Viorst’s classic story of Alexander is one of the best books for kids to listen to because it connects with people of all ages. We can all relate to the grumpy main character because it shows “one of those days” in a very real way. The good news is that things work out for the best in the end. We all know that everyone has bad days.
Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis
This is one of the cutest fairy tales I’ve ever read. It’s so cute! It tells the story of a prince who is looking for a bride. He ends up saving and being saved by a beautiful knight. Of course, this cute rhyming story has a happy ending.
Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole
I love reading this book aloud because it gives me the chance to do all kinds of different voices. Readers who are excited about the book can bring Clara, Cornelius, and Catisha to life. Another thing that makes this story fun is that it has a good lesson at the end.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo
Great read-alouds are books that rhyme. When Byers talks about this one, she tells us that we are enough the way we are. Furthermore, the illustrations are amazing and show a wide range of children in everyday situations. It’s one of my favorite books to give to my friends and family.
Ish by Peter Reynolds
During the last few weeks of school, I love to read this book to my teacher education students. They are especially stressed at this time of year. Reynolds tells us to be kind to ourselves in the second book of his Creatrilogy, which is called “Gracious.”
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Everyone loves this old story about Max, the naughty boy who gets in trouble for messing up. Her punishment for Max is that she takes him to bed without giving him his dinner as a punishment. However, he keeps acting like a wild person in an imaginary world full of wild things. This is a must-read because of the simple text and beautiful pictures.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James
When Barnes talks about getting a haircut, he makes it look easy. (Insert a Beyonce hair flip here.) Another thing this story does is show us how important it is to tell stories that show Black people having fun. This story shows a common event for little black boys and how magical it can be.
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
To make me cry, ask me to read this book aloud. Love You Forever is a letter from a mother to her child that is full of love. When a child grows up, the story shows how his mother still loves him. There are going to be a lot of tears when you read this.
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonal No Combina by Monica Brown and Sara Palacios
Marisol McDonald thinks that peanut butter and jelly burritos are just as normal as the food her Peruvian-Scottish-American family eats on a normal day. After being told that parts of her identity and interests don’t match, she tries to be “normal.” The good news is that Marisol has teachers and family members who encourage her to be who she is and be proud of her uniqueness. There are both English and Spanish words in this fun book that you can read aloud to your kids!
The Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books
They can enjoy the pleasure of long read-alouds at any age. Great chapter books can be exciting and fun to read again and again. Waiting to find out what happens next can be fun and exciting. However, since I haven’t had kids in my care long enough to read chapter books to for a long time, this list has mostly older books on it. Check out this list of great chapter books for new books to read.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder was a big hit when it came out in 2012. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson star in the movie now. August is a boy who has facial differences and medical problems that have kept him homeschooled for most of his life. The story is about August. Finally, August is going to a normal school. This is a big change for him, his family, and his community. It’s a story about kindness and compassion in the end.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Bear with me, because this is a long-running show. They made me laugh as a child. My second-graders agreed with me. This book is full of silly stories about the kids at Wayside School, a school that was built upside down. It’s 30 stories high with only one classroom on each floor. The stories are great for quick and silly read-alouds.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
It’s a great story that has a lot of interesting things in it, like mystery, relatable family drama, issues of race and sexuality, and puzzle-solving. Take a look at Candice and Brandon as they try to solve a decades-old mystery that will clear up Candice’s grandmother. Also, they might find hidden treasure. There’s something for everyone in this story that will keep people interested until the end.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
It is based on a true story. The One and Only Ivan tells the story of a gorilla who has lived in a glass enclosure at a shopping mall for 27 years. This is one of the best read-aloud books for kids because it’s told from Ivan’s point of view. Ivan and his friends quickly become friends with readers. To make things even better for people who like Ivan and his friends, there’s a follow-up called The One and Only Bob!
Melissa’s Story by Alex Gino
First, let me say that the author of this book, Alex Gino, has long regretted calling this book George. He now refers to it as Melissa’s Story. A lot of people think Melissa is a boy, but she knows that she is a girl. The book follows Melissa as she tries to get through a world where people think she is a boy. In class, Melissa knows that she would be the best Charlotte when the show was put on. Melissa comes up with a plan with the help of her best friend, Kelly. She wants to show everyone the truth once and for all